Designing for users who are deaf or hard of hearing

Write in plain English

Don't use complicated words or figures of speech

People who use British Sign Language may consider this to be their first language. They may consider English to be their second language. Sentence structure differs between these two languages and therefore content should be kept simple to make it easier for BSL users to read.

Use subtitles or provide transcripts for videos

Don't put content in audio or video only

Users who are Deaf, deaf or hard of hearing will need to access your videos in a visual way. Do not rely on the user’s ability to lipread to understand what is being said. Videos should include subtitles, a transcript, or a British Sign Language interpreter - the more of these you can include the more user needs you will meet.

Use a linear, logical layout

Don't make complex layouts and menus

Users who have English as their second language may find it tiring or difficult to read lots of text. A logical layout can help users judge what content they need to read in order to complete their task.

Break up content with sub-headings, images and videos

Don't make users read long blocks of content

British Sign Language is a very visual language - using visuals instead of text may be of benefit to these users, given the right context. Long blocks of text are difficult to read for those whose first language is not English. Headers help to explain the purpose of the copy that follows.

Let users ask for their preferred communication support when booking appointments

Don't make telephone the only means of contact for users

A d/Deaf or hard of hearing user may not be able to answer a phone call. Allow for people to specify how they want to be contacted. If you service requires a face to face interaction, design the interface to allow for the user to request communication support (and what kind of support that needs to be).