I was commissioned by the Kingswood Retirement Community Historical Society to design a book for the upcoming anniversary of the institution. Because much of the audience has visual and motor impairments, many design elements and techniques were not practical to use. From the beginning, my goal was for the book to be read without any visual aids. After all, this is how I read books, so I wanted to extend that pleasure to the audience of this book as well.
Making typography accessible is not only about making type bigger. Large type sizes are only a small part of the picture. Choosing a typeface that is legible and readable is more of a factor. To that end, a typeface was chosen with unique and recognizable characters, long ascenders, used with expanded tracking, proper leading, and without ligatures, italics or bolding (as these can be a hindrance to legibility for those with visual impairments).
Color use restrictions are also a factor for this audience. Colors chosen needed to be at minimum 70% opacity when grey. So that the tints that were chosen would be vibrant enough so that those with visual impairments could distinguish easily between colors. Another accessibility element that was integrated into the production of the book was the use of rip-proof paper. Many people with motor disabilities find it difficult to do fine motor movements such as flipping pages without ripping thin paper. So paper was used that made it easier for those individuals to read the book comfortably. The design strategy overall emphasized clear hierarchy and differentiation. This was implemented throughout the book to minimize any confusion between sections or different elements.