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Jenn and Ken Dissect Info Design at Access-Ability

Jenn & Ken Visocky O’Grady, Co-founders of Enspace
Jenn and Ken Visocky O’Grady speak to a packed house at the Access-Ability Conference

TORONTO—Last week RGD Ontario hosted Access-Ability, a day-long event focusing on graphic design for a more accessible world. Morning speakers included the engaging duo Jenn and Ken Visocky O’Grady, founders of Lakewood, Ohio-based creative think tank Enspace and authors of The Information Design Handbook and A Designer’s Research Manual.

Since they hail from south of the border much of their advice related to the American Disabilities Act design guidelines. But they are relevant when discussing the guidelines set out in the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act to make the province accessible to people with disabilities by 2025.

Here is a list of information and advice from their talk, Information Design Dissected:

  • People read the shapes of whole words, not individual letters.
  • Statements in all caps as well as condensed and extended letterforms are more difficult  to read.
  • If using a “fancy font” repeat the information in a more legible one below.
  • Recognize that one in 20 people have some sort of colour viewing deficiency. Visit for a simulation of your design as someone who is colourblind would see it.
  • ADA Guidelines suggest a 70 percent difference in colour contrast between background and type.
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by Val Maloney (orginally published in Design Edge, 1st February 2010)