This in part of a series Ten points to accessible information.
You can present information in Braille, large print, Sign Language, or easy read, but it will still be useless if it cannot be understood.
Once again we are talking about clear and straightforward communication, familiar language, jargon free text and information that is well structured and easy to follow. This is true whether the information is presented in a web site that has clearly understandable navigation and other interactions such as forms, or in any other format.
Presenting the same information in a variety of alternative or supplemented representations can increase understanding. Text can be supplemented with informative illustrations and graphics, for example.
On the Web, this kind of multi-formatted presentation of information gives the lie to the argument that accessibility is boring. Here, text can be supplemented with illustrations, animations, audio, video and information in other formats. Some of these formats may be essential for comprehension by those with more significant cognitive or reading impairments.
Summaries of long and complex information, either on the web or elsewhere can also make information more understandable.
Understandable information as an element of accessibility will benefit everyone. Here is an example from my own recent experience. Last week I was watching a presentation during the CSUN 2010 tweetup. Our so-called broadband was simply not keeping up. Because the presentation was live streaming I was missing bits and it was annoyingly difficult to understand what was being said. (I have hearing within the regular range.) Mostly I couldn’t read what was on the overheads being shown either. However the conference was thoughtfully providing captions, which loaded faster than the visual and audio so I could follow the presentation. Thanks guys.