Saturday, September 04, 2010

Balance between access and viability...

A CD was distributed on Friday last week to a large portion of the WA design community that highlighted 'accessible' design.

There is a well-intentioned but rather painful movement to shift design objects to full accessibility. That is, that the device is both legible and comprehensible to all possible viewers of that object. This includes those who are colour-blind, have poor vision or are otherwise disabled.

Ironically enough the device used to illustrate this was clumsy and difficult to handle... I'm sure I'm not the only one who saw the irony in that.

Most of the components are just common sense - contrast, colour choice, text alignment, web standards, etc - but others are ecologically a disaster.

One of the chief problems is the demands on font size and font selection. Whilst Sans Serif fonts without certain treatments (no all caps, no underlining, no italics) isn't so difficult, the 12pt for body copy will prove both expensive and paper intense. As an example, an 8pp brochure set in 9/13pt (arguably close to an industry standard) will blow out to at least 12pp. If you account for the Government fetish for bullet points, this will likely go up another 4pp again.

Reprints of existing jobs 'might' require significant resets if they need to comply. Whilst good for the design industry, these are big expenses that could be spent on other projects.

Much is made in the same information about offering alternative formats (text only) so you have to wonder about the sense of creating clumsy objects to accommodate every possible demographic. Given that a lot of Government departments are only printing very small runs of mandatory reports, you could argue that as most will view the object on screen, the 12pt is close to irrelevant due to screen size on the viewer-side.

1 comment:

Marvelan said...
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