Accessible Information Ladder

The Accessible Information Ladder is an evidence based framework to plan, create and evaluate accessible information and communications.

Each component, or step, builds on the last. If accessibility breaks down at one level, the customer will also have difficulty accessing all other levels.

The ladder

Adjust at each level, to maximise accessibility and inclusion:

1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. 7. 8. 9. 10.

Accessible content

Accessible concepts

Accessible sentences

Accessible cohesion

Accessible text structure and design

Accessible images

Accessible document and graphic design

Accessible sensory and symbolic systems

Accessible formats and media channels

Accessible context

Benefits of the Accessible Information Ladder

– Improves engagement, understanding and recall
– Holistic, ensures no customer’s needs are overlooked
– Evidence based, updates traditional simplification methods
– Supports compliance with legislative requirements

The Ladder optimises accessibility at multiple levels, and generates information in ‘Easier English’.

Intended audiences

When used as a strategic planning tool, the Ladder informs accessible communications for all audiences.

Easier English modernises and expands traditional simplification techniques (eg. Plain English, Easy Read) for hard to reach, low literacy and disability audiences.

The Ladder also plugs the Information Accessibility Gap, for the ‘average reader’.

Communication channels

The Accessible Information Ladder is suitable for all media channels, including writing, speech, illustrations, signs and symbols, in traditional and digital formats.

Advice and training

If you would like advice or training in implementing the Accessible Information Ladder, please contact Rosalind@inklecomms.co.uk.

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Keep up to date with the latest news from Inklecomms on accessible information, industry leading techniques and how best to communicate with your wider audience in the most effective way. 

Department of Work and Pensions

Inklecomms was asked by the DWP to provide advice and adaptations to ensure letters to claimants regarding Employment and Support Allowance, and Jobseekers’ Allowance, were easier to understand.

Claimant representatives were engaged in content creation and feedback.

Working with users and other stakeholders, Inklecomms improved the content, flow, relevance and clarity of standard letters, using Easier English.

Inklecomms also provided an accessibility audit for a proposed Easy Read leaflet. The audit included analysis and recommendations on intended audience and writing style, including text structure, expository features, language and illustrations.

This work contributed to a review of information products, following recommendations by the independent Work Capability Assessment and Oakley reviews.

Northern Neurological Alliance

A questionnaire to measure outcomes, for people with acquired neurological conditions, was adapted using Easier English. Adaptations aimed to improve ease of use and validity of responses.

Advice was provided on further, staged simplifications of the questionnaire, so that it could be adapted to meet the needs of people with progressive conditions.

VisitEngland and VisitScotland

Inklecomms provided language consultation for VisitEngland and VisitScotland’s new Accessibility Guides website, enabling tourism operators to produce accessibility guides for visitors with disabilities.

The main focus of the work was to construct questions, and multiple-choice answers, that would automatically generate readable, relevant, public-facing, online information.

The final website was simpler and more standardised than the previous format. User testing showed the site is easier for businesses to complete, and easier for people with accessibility needs to use.

‘These new guides will give clear accessibility information to make it easier for disabled visitors to plan their trips with confidence.’
John Glen, UK Government

‘The new accessibility guides will allow travellers to compare attractions and accommodation before choosing their destination, enabling them to make an informed choice.’
Sally Balcombe, VisitEngland Chief Executive

Royal Marsden NHS Foundation Trust

Inklecomms provided advice and training, to combine a complaints leaflet, and its Easy Read equivalent, into one standard document.

Adaptations using Easier English improved understanding, and ease of use, for patients and carers with diverse language, literacy and knowledge needs.