Picture yourself sitting in a restaurant. The waiter or waitress hands you a menu.. They point to the specials that are written on a board hanging on a wall at the far side of the restaurant. You start trying to read the menu, squinting ever tighter at the small, scripted font, placed on a poorly contrasting background. The menu has weird pictures and stripes of colour in the background, hampering your view. Add some dim lighting for mood. And now the server is back, waiting for you to order, when you have little idea about what is on offer. Why are they making it so difficult?
Now for almost anyone this situation seems problematic and all too common place. Layer on a visual limitation and you have a very frustrating situation and unhelpful environment that can quickly translate into lost business for the restaurant.
That is the situation with hand held menus, what about those ubiquitous hanging menus? The kind you find at fast food restaurants. Suspended behind the counter at a distance, usually in small fonts, shrinking ever more to accommodate pictures.
Are you relating to any of these experience? Luckily there are solutions. The first is easy, design for the reader. Understand that these are communication tools first and works of art second. Choose appropriate font styles, sizes and contrasts:
A Few Words About Etiquette
In many instances that best way to assist someone in need of visual accommodation is a personal touch. Here are a few points for servers, owners or just friends and companions on when and how to offer assistance:
Trained in town planning, an avid traveler and legally blind myself I write on issues and opportunities is see along my travels that could improve our cities from a visual perspective.