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Creating Accessible Communications 

Accessibility benefits everyone and learning to create accessible communications is for every State employee, not just those who are in designated communications roles!

Each and every one of us is communicating in some form or another, including emails, reports, presentations, meetings, websites, applications, grant programs, press releases, printed materials, and more. The avenues of communication are endless. In our role as State employees, we convey vital information to the general public. It is our responsibility to make sure we are presenting information in a way that is understandable. The Chief Marketing Office is committed to ensuring marketing and communications from the State of Vermont are clear and accessible for all Vermonters and that State employees have the tools they need to make this happen.

Let's begin...together!

As we embark on the journey of bringing accessibility to the forefront of our work and daily conversations, it is important to realize that this topic is not one size fits all. It is likely not feasible to make each communication accessible for every potential member of your audience, because everyone has individual needs. This is why the first step is to know your audience and if there are any important considerations in connecting with them. And, the second important step is to welcome the audience to request accommodations and alternative formats.

How the Chief Marketing Office can help

The Chief Marketing Office has assembled best practices and considerations to make communications accessible (outlined below) and is in the process of updating all State of Vermont Brand Standards and Guidelines to ensure that our foundational standards are in line with current accessibility best practices. Additionally, the CMO has developed Template Resources with step-by-step editing instructions, developed a Language Access Guidance Summary, and assembled a list of Employee Resources to learn more about accessible communications.

Accessibility throughout the Enterprise

We encourage all State of Vermont employees to review the Accessibility Guidelines SharePoint site published by the Agency of Human Services Accessibility Committee. This site is available to all state employees interested in learning more about accessible communications, complete with guidelines, resources, and recommendations for a variety of communication methods and formats.

Additional Resources to Explore is a great resource for learning about digital accessibility. Their article An advanced approach to accessibility, What to do, how to do it, and why it matters is a helpful place to start.

The Microsoft Inclusive Design guide explores the principles of inclusive design. This includes additional information, Inclusive 101 and Inclusive Design for Cognition which are great resources for learning the fundamentals of inclusive design.

Best Practices

First and foremost, all communications should be simple and organized. Content and language should be understandable and formatting should assist the audience with understanding your message. Outlined below are important topics different types of communications. Click on the different categories to learn best practices and helpful tips.