Print and alternate formats
Guidance on accessible print and other resources in alternate formats, and using clear print principles.
To provide information that is fully accessible to everyone, including disabled people and those using assistive technologies, you need to produce content in alternate formats.
Examples of alternate formats
Resources in alternate formats provide an alternative way for people to access information which best meets their needs. Examples of alternate formats are:
- large print
- Easy Read
- New Zealand Sign Language (NZSL) translation for video.
Braille and audio
Braille documents are typed or printed. Audio is a recording of a person or computer reading written material and describing any images or graphics.
For advice on audio and Braille alternate formats, contact Blind Citizens NZ.
- Large print: For more about large print alternate formats, contact Blind Citizens NZ.
- Easy Read: For advice on making content accessible, contact People First NZ.
- Accessibility for Microsoft Word documents
When you are producing a video, you must include:
- captions, and
- a descriptive transcript.
Also consider providing:
- for sight-impaired viewers: an audio description (voiceover that narrates all important visual elements of what is happening on screen)
- for Deaf viewers: a NZ Sign Language (NZSL) translation.
For advice on NZSL translations for video, contact NZSL Deaf Aotearoa.
Clear print principles
(Adapted from ‘Guidelines for Producing Clear Print’ by Round Table on Information Access for People with Print Disabilities Inc.)
The minimum body type size recommended is:
- 12 point for a general audience
- 16 point for people with vision impairment/low vision, or with a learning disability.
Fonts and typefaces
- Use a strong sans-serif font, such as Arial.
- Avoid highly stylised or simulated handwriting and typefaces.
- Use a typeface that makes numerals distinct.
- typefaces with light weight options because there is less contrast between the paper and text
- italics, which can make text difficult to read for some people
- all capital letters in words. The human eye reads by recognising the shape of words and a word in all capitals interferes with this recognition.
Use plenty of white space around text and images and separate the different elements of the page.
Text and line spacing
- Line length should be about 60 characters.
- Left-align text and avoid justified text.
- Words should be evenly spaced.
- To accentuate pieces of text, use white spaces or boxes.
- Leave a space between paragraphs for ease of reading.
- Line spacing should be 1.5x and at least twice the space between words.
- Make sure there is a strong contrast between the text and the background.
Images and other design elements
- Avoid using text over images or patterned backgrounds.
- Avoid using colour shading and screens that reduce the contrast between text and background.
- Avoid fitting text around images if this means lines of text start in different places and are difficult to find.
- Avoid using watermarks in the background of content, such as ‘draft’ and ‘confidential’. Instead, signal these clearly on the front page and include them in the running header or footer.
- Allow extra space/widely spaced lines on forms for people to write on or for signatures.
- Make sure page numbers are in the same place on each page.
- Use matte or satin paper rather than glossy paper.
- Use paper of enough weight so the print does not show through on the other side.
- Print documents should open flat.