Making Print Documents Accessible 

There are times when documents are meant to be shared in print, such as:
  • Posters or infographics to display on a wall or bulletin board
  • Print information that is handed out, mailed, backpacked home, or sent to intended recipients.
  • Forms to be signed and returned to school.

In those situations, the NYC DOE is required to provide an accessible digital version.

Accessible Digital Versions

People who need assistive technology to read materials--whether because of a disability or because of their needs for translation--will need digital versions of them. For that reason, whenever you create something that you think of as “print only,” it must be available in a digitally accessible format such as:

  • A webpage on an accessible platform that’s been formatted so that it’s accessible for people with disabilities.
  • A Word, Excel, Google, or Pages document that’s been formatted so that it’s accessible to people with disabilities.

Style

All content should be written at a grade 6 - 9 reading level. Find out more at our Plain Language Guidance webpage, and NYC DOE Style Guide.

Design

  • Follow the American Printing House for the Blind’s Guidelines for Print Document Design.
  • Make sure that you’ve Incorporated both QR Code and shortened URL into the design, so the digital version can be accessed by people with disabilities

QR Code

QR Codes are one way for people with disabilities to get from a printed document to a digital equivalent--whether it be a webpage or a digitally accessible version of the document.

  • To generate a QR Code, visit your favorite QR Code generator.
  • Once you provide a URL, a code is generated that can be placed in a document.
    • Include the phrase, “Access a digital version of this < poster, flyer, etc>” above the QR code.
  • There is no set standard for where QR codes are placed, but they usually appear at the bottom of a document.
    • You may want to set a standard for your school or office.
    • Making the code findable by  can be as simple as cutting a bottom corner on the page to indicate its location for those without vision

A Shortened URL

A shortened url makes it easier to access content where the original link is long and hard to remember. Popular services are TinyURL and Bitly.

Accessible Non-Digital Versions

Sometimes you may need to offer other physical options for print materials depending on the needs of the audience. These can include:

Braille

You may make Braille copies of your print document. 

Large Print

You may make a large print version of the content.  This requires that the document use:

  • A sans serif font like Arial, Calibri at a minimum of 18 pt. in size.
    •  Be sure to modify your H2 and H3 headings accordingly.
  • A color contrast of 4.5:1 between the text and the background .
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