Paths to Literacy

for students who are blind or visually impaired

Top Access Tips to Pictures and Illustrations

Bumble bee with good contrast


1.  Size of graphic

  • Present clear, well contrasting, simple large graphics.
  • Remove detail and visual clutter from graphic.
  • Add black outlines to shapes and main key features.
  • Remove complex colouring.
  • Use colours which provide good contrast.


2.  Captions

  • Present captions for images in a consistent way throughout the document so that the child knows where to find them.
  • Avoid overlaying text on a picture.
  • Present text in child’s preferred print, typeface (font) and typestyle (bold, plain format).



  • Present as line drawings, with thick black outlines.
  • Remove unnecessary clutter.
  • Make small details larger.
  • Remove complex colouring.
  • Use colours which provide good contrast.



frog on lily pad

  • Only use if simple and not too detailed.
  • Make sure the important part of the image is displayed clearly
  • Add black outlines to key features.
  • Contrast of the photograph needs to be sharp and clear
  • Provide written description of photograph to support understanding of key features.


Advice Point

  • At Primary/Secondary level, consider the additional value the picture/photograph/image adds.
  • Adapting pictures is time consuming and often used only briefly.
  • Equally, accessing graphical information can further add to the child’s visual fatigue.

General guidance: Think about only adapting if the graphic adds or explains something over and above that which is contained in the text.


For further Top Access Tips Sheets visit


Top access tips -- pictures and illustrations for students with low vision


Posted on January 13, 2014
Updated on: February 23, 2018