Some of my favorite and regular go-tos
Accessible Social: A free resource hub about how to make social media content accessible. Topics include hashtags, links and hypertext, plain language, formatting, emojis, alternative characters, ASCII art, alternative text, flattened copy, using color, captions, video descriptions, and testing/checking content.
Adobe Acrobat Accessibility Resource Center: Adobe has created a series of accessibility guides for Adobe Acrobat Pro DC to assist content authors in creating accessible PDF documents.
Alt-text as Poetry. Focused on approaching alt-text thoughtfully and creatively.
Alt-text effective drafting: Helpful suggestions from Microsoft.
Agent Ransack: It’s a free and very robust desktop search app. Not remembering where you saved a document? Windows Explorer not delivering for you? Give Agent Ransack a try.
Benchbooks (for Michigan judicial officers): Published and regularly updated by the Michigan Judicial Institute, these are like procedural subject matter hornbooks.
BlueLeaf Book Scanning: Not all reference or style guides are digital and that’s a problem when I want to do a quick check on the Kindle app from my PC. It’s no longer zero-sum for me. BlueLeaf scans and digitizes my hard copy books so that I can add them to my Kindle. Other book-scanning services have been shared on one of the University of Michigan websites.
Capitalize My Title: Makes title capitalization easy by automatically capitalizing and case converting to Title Case (in AP, APA, Chicago, MLA), sentence case, UPPERCASE, lowercase, and more.
For better captioned-video (subtitle) understanding, try:
- Meryl Evans’s The Complete Guide to Captioned Videos
- Netflix’s English Timed Text Style Guide
Coblis: This online colorblindness simulator helps you assess how your images and other visual displays will appear to others who have a color vision deficiency.
CourtListener: Free search of PACER’s archived dockets and documents. You can also set alerts to be notified of new docket activity.
DocumentCloud: A repository of documents often written about in current event stories.
Emoji list: Including images or references to emojis in your memo, brief, or opinion? Here’s the full list of how to describe them in your corresponding image captions and ALT-text content. Bloomberg Law published an overview of Emojis and Visual Literacy: A Guide for Lawyers. Separately, law professor Eric Goldman published a fascinating (and very relevant) article on the topic, Emojis and the Law. Appreciating that image/emojis may not appear in digital research content that share his article, he included this reader suggestion that’s worth replicating in your work:
If you are reading this Article in print, note that many images are in color. If you are reading this Article in an electronic database, you probably cannot see most images, and the database may not have signaled the omissions. Either way, you might consider reading an original PDF version of the Article.
Emojis and Emoticons: How Courts and Litigators are Dealing with Interpretation of Digital Wordless Communications is another important piece published by the American Bar Association in January 2022.
Federal plain language guidelines: The official guidelines for the Plain Writing Act of 2010.
Filament Meeting Design Canvas: Matt Homann doesn’t care for meetings but, if you’re going to have them, it’s worth being thoughtful and intentional. His one-page meeting design canvas makes sure that you hit all the right points.
How to say it in “Michigan”: Get Michigan terms and names right using this rich alphabetized directory. Printed and audio file pronunciation cues are included thanks to the Bureau of Services for Blind Persons, Braille and the Talking Book Library!
Kindle for PC: Already have a Kindle to read books? Now you can add that library to your PC! The app is free.
Learn Microsoft Office 2019: A comprehensive guide to getting started with Word, PowerPoint, Excel, Access, and Outlook: Available either in paperback or Kindle, this is a helpful resource for those who are curious to understand more.
Link Checker for Word: Ablebits has this fantastic Microsoft Word plug-in that will verify whether your links (including hyperlinks) work or are broken before you distribute/file your document.
NVDA screen reader: free download
One Look dictionary search: a super-powerful word lookup tool. At the time I added this link, it boasts of having 18,955,870 words in 1061 dictionaries indexed. Check it out!
Perma.cc: Never again suffer the consequences of link-rot. The federal Department of Justice included 25 perma.cc links in the footnotes of its March 2023 report about the Investigation of the Louisville Metro Police Department and the Louisville Metro Government.
Typography for Lawyers: I love that Matthew Butterick’s resource is available both online and in book form.
WAVE Web Accessibility Evaluation Tool: Helps web content creators make their content more accessible to individuals with disabilities. Simply paste the web address into the online search bar and it can identify many accessibility and Web Content Accessibility Guideline (WCAG) errors.