The art of typography for digital access

logo for Vision Australia Digital Access webinars. Every time you write something you have an opportunity to consider typography for digital access. What is it? It’s the technique of choosing and arranging type to make written language understandable and readable. The problem is, some typefaces make it difficult to distinguish separate letters. For example, 5AM can look like SAM, clear looks like dear, and turn looks like tum. Fortunately, Vision Australia has some practical help.

Writing for an app, a website, an email, or a presentation requires thought about the most readable typeface or font. And we have to consider things like payment terminals, keypads and logos. Several people might be involved in making and designing typography. For example, human resource teams and brand and marketing teams.

Vision Australia has a one hour digital access webinar divided into handy chapters so you don’t have to consume it all at once. The chapters are:

      1. Introduction to typography
      2. An inclusive lens on typography
      3. What to look for
      4. 8 accessible typeface tips
      5. Which font should I use?
      6. Typographic layout and styling
      7. Design with people with disability

8 Typeface Tips

      1. Choose fonts that have more space for lower case letters so that the main body of a lowercase letter has more room. 
      2. Choose typefaces that are more open – for example a bigger gap between the end curves of a ‘c’. 
      3. Fonts with larger white spaces between letters are really helpful.
      4. Typefaces with joined letters to look like script are confusing and difficult for screen readers.
      5. Some typefaces have letters and numbers that look the same such as upper case “i” and the number “1” and lower case “l”.
      6. Look at the horizontal spaces between all letters in a word of body of text. They can be too close or too spaced. 
      7. Limit using ALL CAPS text. This is due to the shape of the letters and the way we recognise text. Sentence case gives the word it’s shape.
      8. Avoid images of text because when you zoom in they get pixilated and fuzzy. Photos of text can’t be read by screen readers either.

One amusing point about screen readers trying to decipher the acronym FAQ’s: if the apostrophe is left out it reads “farq yous”. However, it emphasises the point of testing with screen readers.

Vision Australia’s advice is there is no one right font. You have to consider context, tone, audience and the content. And of course, the advice in the following chapter in the webinar.

Vision Australia graphic depicting two people looking at a computer screen that reads what's coming in WCAG 2.2?


An excellent webinar – one of a series that includes mobile app accessibility, online access policies, and more.