Text and graphics displayed within a programme

While watching a programme, viewers may see various messages displayed on screen as part of the programme content. These include competition entry instructions, opening and closing credits, contact telephone numbers, names of people being interviewed, website addresses, sports scores, scrolling news tickers, and so on. This text should be written and presented in a way that all viewers can access and understand.

It may be difficult or impossible to retrofit existing programmes with more readable, legible or understandable text and in some cases there may exist rights issues with translation of foreign content. However, producers of all new programme content should aspire to adhere to these guidelines to the greatest extent possible.

Production costs can be a constraint for programme development and many television and film projects have strICT budgets. With this in mind, it should be noted that most of the recommendations in this section refer to text that should have at least some degree of flexibility in its format and layout. If these guidelines are adopted from the beginning of the planning and production phases, they should not incur any extra costs. For example, if a decision is made at the start of production, it costs nothing to use a larger text size and a more legible colour combination for phone numbers, embedded subtitles and the like.

The guidelines in this section apply only to text within the programme picture. They do not apply to subtitles that are provided as textual data alongside the programme. Neither do they apply to metadata about the programme (name, synopsis, etc.) that is displayed on screen by receiver equipment. These issues are dealt with in other sections. However, many of the requirements for making embedded programme text universally accessible are the same as the requirements for subtitles and receiver-displayed text.

Sources of information used for the guidelines on text and graphics displayed within a programme

As stated in the overall introduction to the guidelines, these recommendations are largely the result of a compilation and restructuring of information contained in existing resources. The key resources used for this section were:

These and other resources are referenced in the bibliography.