What is easy read?

It’s a format which makes information easier to understand for people with learning disabilities or people with other conditions which may affect how they process information.

The format

Easy Read has a unique format which presents information in an understandable manner. The ‘How to use Easy Words and Pictures’ documentation by the Disability Rights Commission gives strong recommendations on how to write an Easy Read documentation. These points can be pushed across and be used on the web.


In the ‘How to use Easy Words and Pictures’ document, it mentions that sentences should be short and have no more than 15 to 20 words. Text size should be big enough to read using a clear font. Normally a font like Arial or Comic Sans.

Any words which could be confusing or difficult to understand by the reader, it should be explain in the next sentence, normally in a different colour or by making the words bold. An example of this can be seen on Page 3 of the ‘How to use Easy Words and Pictures’ document. The author is encourage to only use full words and avoid the use of acronyms.


In the ‘How to use Easy Words and Pictures’ document, it mentions authors need to use a picture that supports the text. The image is normally positioned to the left of the text and can sometimes be a larger image above a block of text.

Web requirements

The structural presentation of an easy read site should have a uniform appearance using the easy read format wherever possible. The navigation of an easy read site is recommended to be clear and easy to use and understand, using images where possible.


An investigation into existing easy read sites in the UK and research conducted by organisations such as the Learning Disabilities Partnership Board and Mencap has help to set a list of requirements for an easy read site.

The results of this investigation has shown that the content for an easy read site should have a uniform appearance throughout with a colourful and bright colour scheme. The pages should limit the amount of scrolling, meaning the page should be broken up, displaying the information into separate pages, using forward and back buttons to navigate between each page.


The best way to present navigation on an easy read site is to use a step-by-step navigation. This format gives each stage of the navigation its own page, displaying the links in the easy read format. Universal navigation, which will be displayed on most pages, is also recommended. This includes a home button, or a button the page’s navigation page.


For any website, accessibility is an important factor to consider. By following the guidelines provided by the WCAG, an easy read site should be designed to be accessed by anyone. The site should provide the ability to customize the font (style, size, and colour) and customize background colour. The site should also support screen readers and keyboard navigation.

List of requirments

In summary, an easy read site should include these requirments:

A clear easy to understand navigation using Easy Read pictures

Easy read language/pictures wherever possible

A step-by-step navigation

Customisable text size

Information is current and up to date

Videos to explain difficult subjects

Uniform appearance throughout

Clean design which represented the organizations branding

Forward and back buttons for pages with a lot of information

Customisable web page colour

Easy read language wherever possible

Text to speech


Below are a couple of examples which shows the easy read format on the web and as a download

Staffordshire Cares

Staffordshire Cares is a site which gives advice on living a healthier and more independent life. They have provided a set of easy read pages for people learning disabilities. I was a member of the team behind the creation of this site, which drove me to create easy web.

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Oxfordshire County Council

Oxfordshire County Council have provided a set of easy read page for people with learning disabilities. This site was helpful during my research by giving me pointers and ideas on what people may want out of an easy read site.

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Equality and Human Rights Commission

Parliament gave the Commission the mandate to challenge discrimination, and to protect and promote human rights. They have provided a range of easy read documents on their site

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