Text and language Digital Accessibility

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Digital Accessibility

Text and language

Clear text

Before starting to produce a document, we must think about the kind of people to whom it is addressed, the most important ideas to transmit and its structure. Therefore we will use a simple language, without complex grammatical structures and using short phrases. The message we want to convey with our text must be clearly detected by the users.


Text format

The typography we use is a fundamental element of our document. It is advisable to use San Serif type fonts such as Arial or Verdana since they favor the readability of the text and therefore the understanding by several groups of people with disabilities.

The term " sans serif " is a French word and means "without serifs".

We should use types of fonts that are present in most applications or operating systems, to ensure the interoperability of our documents. For example, if we use a Calibri font type in Word, but we later modify that document in Open Office, it will warn us that that type of font is not available. We will have to select another type of font and so, the document can change quite a lot since not all fonts have the same size for each character.

Herramientas de fuente

The size of the font should be adequate, not advising to go below 12 points, and recommending to use the size of 14 points.

On the other hand, it is not advisable to overuse text in capital letters because its readability is lower and also, in cases of braille users as blind people it is less comfortable reading uppercase letters than lowercase.


Paragraph format

Regarding the alignment of the text we must take into account a number of considerations:

  • If we think of centering the paragraph Icono de centrado de párrafo, this should be short and not occupy more than a couple of lines, otherwise it may be more difficult to read.
  • It is not advisable to justify the text of the document Icono de párrafo justificado, this format makes it difficult to read and, therefore, its readability. This is the case, for example, in people with Dyslexia, since aligning the justified text to each end of the document creates a series of 'rivers' in the content that prevent an easy understanding of it.
  • Finally, it is essential to include enough line spacing to improve the reading of the sentences Botón interlineado.

Herramientas de párrafo

A good practice to ensure that all content has the same format is to modify the base style of our text editor, for example in Word we follow the following steps:

  1. In the Styles panel, we look for the Normal style and with the right button we click on Modify ...
  2. We select the type and size of font we want, for example Arial font and size 12.
  3. Now click on the Format button ... and in the options that are displayed select Paragraph ...
  4. In the Line Spacing section we select an option, for example 1.5 lines.
  5. Click on OK to save the paragraph settings.
  6. We finish with OK to save the changes in the style.

Text in images

It is not advisable to include text in images because it hinders its readability. In this case, we could have problems with the contrast between background colors and text of the image when the image is enlarged, and therefore, it will be more complicated to read for people with low vision who use a screen magnifier at high levels of enlargement.



Whether we work with documents with several languages or only terms from another language appear, we must always mark the language to which each part of the text belongs. This is of vital importance because screen readers used, for example, by blind people, need to know the language of the text to get a proper pronunciation.

Let's take this example: we are writing a text in English, we use the word Hola, to refer to the magazine with that name. If we do not indicate in a correct way that this word is in Spanish, the screen reader will pronounce it very strange whereas if we have correctly marked it in their language, in this case, English, the screen reader will pronounce 'ola'.

Next, we will see how to perform this task in several ways and with different scope in Word.


Set the default language of a document

By default, the language defined by Word for our document is our operating system’s one. If we have Microsoft Windows 7 in Spanish, the language of the documents will be Spanish by default. To modify this behavior, we will follow these steps:

  1. Click on the File tab.
  2. We select the item Options.
  3. In the window that appears, select Language in the list on the left.
  4. In the section Choose editing languages we select the language we want and click on set as default.
  5. We finish the action by clicking on OK.

Establecer idioma predeterminado

Set the language of a text fragment

If we want to change the language of a specific text, we will follow these steps:

  1. We select the text that we want to mark in another language.
  2. In the lower status bar, click on the language part where the language appears (Spanish (Spain) in the image).
  3. We select the language in which the selected text is.
  4. To finish, click on OK

Establecer idioma a fragmento de texto

Set the language of a piece of text using styles

This option allows us to establish the language of a certain text and, in turn, to create a style to give a specific format to this text, thus all the content of a particular language will have the same format.

As an example, below we will create a style in Word with the name "English text", which will serve to mark the text in that language and to show it in italics, the steps are as follows:

  1. In the style tools panel, click on the box that appears in the lower right corner Style panel. Barra de herramientas de estilos
  2. In the style panel, click on the button New style. Panel de estilos
  3. In this new style window, we type in the field "text in English", then click on the I button to make the text italic and click on the Format button to select Language. Ventana de edición de estilos idioma
  4. In the language window that appears, we select the language we want, in our case it would be English and then click on OKEstablecer idioma mediante estilo
  5. To finish, we click on OK again.
  6. Now, we can apply our 'text in English' style to any text that we select in our document.


Structure and semantic Index