Everything the College publicises online or in print must be accessible to a range of audiences. Access to information is a legal duty the College must meet and adhere to, under the Equality Act 2010. This involves not only reacting to the needs of individuals on request, but also trying to anticipate their needs. When producing materials aimed at potential students, current students, staff, and potential partners, we must ensure that all target audiences can access our information and materials.

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Writing

  • Use clear, concise English, avoiding jargon where possible.
  • Consult the Writing Style Guide for information on using inclusive language.

Colour

The colour contrast between font colour and background colour, both on the web and in print, can impact those with a visual impairment. If there is not sufficient contrast, text is harder to distinguish. When designing your publication or other materials, ensure text is legible against the background and avoid having text run over images. If you have any queries about colour choice, contact style.guide@imperial.ac.uk. To find out details of our brand colour palette, visit the Brand colours web pages.

Graphs and charts

When preparing graphs and charts, keep in mind the following guidelines to help ensure that they are accessible for people with colour blindness:

  • Print graphs in black and white first. If they can be easily interpreted without full colour, then it is likely that they will be accessible for a colour blind person. 
  • Avoid red-green, grey-pink, yellow-blue combinations: these are the most common colour combinations that colour blind people struggle to interpret.
  • If there is no other choice and you must use the above colour combinations, then ensure that you use extreme shades, for example, a very light pink with a darker shade of grey.
  • Ensure that colours are not the only method of conveying important information. Use patterns or shading wherever possible, or provide another method of understanding the information.
  • When using clustered stacked bar charts, label parts of the chart with letters to illustrate colours or items on your chart.
  • Ensure that your graph is in large scale and that you include a key to any chart.

Events and signage

  • Ask guests about specific requirements, including diet, information in alternative formats, accessible entry and induction loops/infrared systems for people with hearing impairments. Provide a name, phone number, email address and postal address for guests to advise you about their requirements.
  • Speak to the Equality, Diversity and Inclusion Centre if you feel that your event requires specialist support (for example, personal assistance for guests, sign language interpreters, Braille signage).
  • When preparing signage, keep in mind the following guidelines:
    • Use one of the two house fonts (both are sans serif) and ensure that where possible, characters are at least 15mm high.
    • Symbols and pictures should be clear and consistent
    • Avoid using upper-case only
    • Ensure that the colour of characters contrasts with the background colour

Design and print (for editors of College publications)

  • An access statement indicating that information is available in alternative formats should be included in a visible location and in a large font size. The message should include contact details (phone and email) for requesting alternative formats.
  • When preparing an alternative format of one of our publications, we should be guided by the user as to his or her specific needs. Some general guidelines to bear in mind include:
    • Use at least font size 12
    • Make sure that there is ample space between lines and leave a full line between paragraphs
    • Avoid italics and block capitals
    • Do not split words between two lines
    • Do not write entire sentences in capital letters
    • Do not use glossy or patterned paper
    • Separate images from text and avoid placing text on top of imagery.
    • If it is not feasible to prepare a bespoke alternative format, then printed text can be enlarged with the use of a photocopier or scanner. The Copyright (Visually Impaired Persons) Act 2002 introduced exceptions to copyright law, which remove the need for anyone to obtain permission from the rights holder to produce an accessible copy. This does not, however, cover everyone with a disability. For further information see: RNIB document: Copyright (Visually Impaired Persons) Act 2002.

Accessibility on the web

  • In December 2014, the College launched its new website. We are committed to making all of our website Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) 2.0 compliant.
  • Accessible features of the new design include:
    • The option to ‘skip to main content’ and ‘skip to department menu’ for screen reader users
    • The option to use arrow keys when a tab area is in focus or for accordion items on a page, as per WAI-ARIA 1.0.
    • An increased font size compared to the previous design, and a responsive design which resizes to the size of the user’s window. Users can also use their browser to alter font size.
  • Web editors can find a checklist of guidance for best practice in terms of accessibility in Imperial's online web guide. 

Additional resources

Writing

Design