Writing & Text

[Author: Bill Fischer]

Integrating visual narratives is at the core of this universal design writing style. Doing so, effectively, will eliminate the need for separate audio-described versions of animation, video, and film, as well as bring illustrated print media to life for the sight-impaired viewer or reader.

Clarity For All

Use a Familiar Story Convention.

Presenting information in a story format will help viewers remember the information presented because they can associate each of the facts with parts of the story.

  1. List the socio-emotional events that will be integrated into the story

  2. List the characters and props that will be included, and make them inclusive.

  3. Wrap them into a conventional four-part story. Append notes describing the scenes that will be included in the illustrations or video

      1. Life in balance

      2. Set up: the problem presented

      3. Body: the problem gets worse

      4. Resolution: the problem is solved

  4. Add visual narrative text or sight-impaired and neurodiverse populations

  5. Check for inclusive pronouns and adjust accordingly.

Write in a Visual Narrative Style

Integrating descriptions of what is happening in the story provides persons of all sensory abilities the clearest possible understanding of the narrative by creating visual-auditory associations in the brain.

Here is an example from a script for a scene in an animation created by KCAD student Luke Cleveland as part of The EPIC Project (external link). The visual narrative bits are broken out and listed below the line (there can also be office sound effects that help to set the scene)

“I’m in my cubicle, my bachelor’s degree on the wall, writing editorial opinions for my online newspaper, trying, trying, to filter out the din of the copy machine.”

The Visual Narrative Bits

  • my cubicle, my bachelor’s degree on the wall

  • writing

  • the din of the copy machine

A Universal and Socio-Emotional Example Script

This School Board Member Script Breakdown demonstrates how to generate visual narratives before visuals are created.

A Universal and Socio-Emotional Script With It's Associated Images

This Supreme Court Judge Animation Script Breakdown includes its associated images and animation.

Inclusive Writing: Gender Neutrality

Part of inclusive writing may involve neutralizing references to gender or sex, such as using "they" in place of "he" or "she". Strict english language traditionalists may take umbrage with this usage, but it seems to be accepted in contemporary writing more often than not and I believe inclusivity trumps tradition in these cases.

Examples of Gender Neutral Titles

Here are a few examples

  • businessman: business person, business people

  • chairman: chair, chairperson

  • mailman: mail carrier, letter carrier, postal worker

  • policeman: police officer

  • salesman: salesperson, sales associate, salesclerk

  • stewardess: flight attendant

  • waitress/waiter: server, table attendant

  • man: person, individual

  • mankind: people, human beings, humanity

  • freshman: first-year student

  • man-made: machine-made, synthetic, artificial

  • actor/actress: actor

  • congressman: legislator, congressional representative

  • fireman: firefighter