How to make manuals more accessible

Hello everyone:
Each month I will be responding to a question; chosen from a pool of some of
the most commonly asked ones that I have been asked over the years and
continue to be asked.
This month, I’d like to answer the following question:
How to make manuals more accessible

Before you say no or turn thumbs down on these suggestions; consider these
thoughts.
You can definitely increase your revenue and reduce both your internal and
external costs and here’s how.

Come to think of it, there is really not too much that anyone would need to
do in order to make their manual more accessible. True it is that you need
to first and foremost consider your audience but there are also important
things for you to consider and implement and here they are.

1. Make sure that your manual is written in language that is easy to
understand. You need to keep in mind that if your manual is written in the
English language, chances are that many of your readers are going to be
those whose first language is not English.

2. If you translate from English to another language, then make sure that
your translator’s first language is the language that the manual is being
translated to. Too many times translators are not properly used. This is a
common pitfall.

3. Make sure that your table of contents is very clear and concise and that
chapter headings are easy to find. Same for section headings.

4. Check your fonts to ensure that they are easy to read.

5. Make sure that fonts are bold and easy to distinguish.

6. Make your paragraphs short, your sections compact, and do not overcrowd
your pages with too many graphs, images, and writing.

7. Make headings easy to find and make sure that you provide introductions
for each chapter.

8. Make your manual available not just in print, but also electronically.

This should be a good start for you.

Take it from me! I have been an accessibility awareness consultant and
advisor since 1998 and I continue to help companies to increase their
revenues, reduce their costs, and reach hidden consumer markets!

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