The creation of experiences that work for as many users, potential users, users with disabilities is very important. Typography plays a major role in the larger accessibility picture and should be chosen and then executed carefully in a way that creates an experience all users can participate with.
The Web Content and Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) 2.1 covers a wide range of recommendations for making Web content more accessible. Following these guidelines will make content more accessible to a wider range of people with disabilities, including accommodations for blindness and low vision, deafness and hearing loss, limited movement, speech disabilities, photosensitivity, and combinations of these, and some accommodation for learning disabilities and cognitive limitations; but will not address every user need for people with these disabilities.
These guidelines address accessibility of web content on desktops, laptops, tablets, and mobile devices. Following these guidelines will also often make Web content more usable to users in general.
The Web Accessibility Initiative WAI is a very helpful additional resource for accessibility recommendations.
While Avondale Type Co. cannot say that any fonts we, or others have created are “certified as ADA compliant” (as this does not exist, only guidelines around selection and proper usage), we have have created ATC Arquette to follow recommendations and best practices for an ADA recommended font, similar to Arial, or Verdana.
ATC Arquette has been designed to be simple, unadorned and without decoration. Usage of this font should always utilize best practices for ADA compliance when it comes to typography. For usage information please read the license agreement for our typefaces as well as our FAQs.
The Bureau of Internet Accessibility has shared a few important notes.
Currently, Section 508 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 does not specify the requirements for choosing an accessible website typeface. However, the US Department of Health & Human Services unofficially recommends the following fonts for PDF files: Times New Roman, Verdana, Arial, Tahoma, Helvetica, and Calibri.
What do the above fonts all have in common? For one, they’re all basic, simple, and unadorned, with no extra decorations or flourishes. What’s more, they usually come automatically installed on computers.
Above all, avoid decorative or overly stylized fonts, which are often difficult to read, even for users without visual impairments or reading disabilities.
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