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How to Welcome Visually Impaired Visitors to Your Blog

Visual impairment is a group of disorders that affect over 3.4 million people in the United States over the age of 40, as reported by the Centers for Disease Control. A misconception among many people is that having some sort of visual impairment equates to total blindness, but that is just not true. Visual impairment has a huge variety of symptoms, including color blindness, sensitivity, and a wide array of ability to see, ranging from mild to complete loss of vision.

There are many options when it comes to making your website accessible to people with vision impairments. Some are simple and straightforward, while others are a little more complex. But with a population of over 3.4 million in one country, it is completely reasonable to expect changes to be made to websites to accommodate them.

Design Tips to Help Visually Impaired Visitors Enjoy Your Blog

  • Contrast: A lot of people with visual impairment also suffer from contrast sensitivity, which is the ability to differentiate between similar shades and levels of brightness. Today’s web accessibility standards discourage a detail-oriented design with gradients and slight shifts in values. This is visually pleasing to people with good eyesight, but for someone with visual impairment like glaucoma, cataracts and retinopathy, these design elements can be hard on the eyes and hard to differentiate from other aspects of the site.

     

  • Color for action items: A frequent design strategy is to add colors to clickable items. Although this adds a colorful element to the page, people with color blindness may not be able to distinguish between multiple items. Avoid using colors that are hard to distinguish for someone with color blindness, like red and green or blue and yellow.

     

  • Limit flashing elements: This is a good practice to start with every website due to the fact that flashing items on your webpage can cause seizures in people with photosensitive epilepsy. For people with visual impairment, flashing elements can restrict their ability to differentiate between different elements of the page, make it harder to read, and cause fatigue because the individual is spending so much time trying to focus on the content instead of just leisurely reading/viewing it.

     

  • Use a monochromatic color scheme: Although this may seem counterintuitive, using a color scheme that uses 1 to 2 colors and slight variations of these colors is beneficial to people with vision issues, as it removes extra meaning that may be associated with certain colors.

     

  • Large Text: Often times, larger text may be all it takes to make your website accessible. Ensuring that your audience can increase the font size on your website without “breaking” the page’s other aspects is vital.

     

  • Limit the number of links: Many people with visual impairment use software that allows the computer to read the content on the page out loud for you. When using a system like Job Access With Speech (JAWS), it will read out the links on the page first. If there is a large number of links on the page, the user can become overwhelmed and leave the site.

     

  • Spacing: Including more spacing than usual can improve readability for people with vision issues. If you leave extra space between words, lines and paragraphs, this can help with keeping track of place, differentiating words, and allowing the person to view and read the content with little to no assistance (when possible).

     

  • Put important information near the top of the page: This is not only important for people with visual impairment, but for just about everyone. Having the information that is pertinent to the website’s theme near the top allows for easy location, keeps the person engaged longer, and cuts down on bounce rates due to not being able to find the needed information.

     

  • Keywords: The use of keywords on your website is paramount. But for people that use screen reading software, it is critical. The use of keywords allows the software to find the specific keyword and take the user to that page easily.

     

  • Keyboard shortcuts: Allowing your audience to use keyboard shortcuts to navigate your website allows people with disabilities to easily navigate through your website and find what they are looking for with little to no frustration.

     

  • Allow desktop users to browse the mobile site: Mobile sites have a reputation for being simplified and more visually accessible. This allows an easier viewing experience for people who need it. The only downfall with using a mobile version over a regular desktop version is that unfortunately, screen reading technology will not work with a mobile site.

     

  • Include accessibility software on your website: There are so many options out there for screen reading software, and to its users, it’s a must-have tool. A popular and free version of this software is JAWS, but there are also many other forms of the software, including NVDA. This software allows people to be able to enjoy Internet content without the stress of having to try to read through the material. Having a feature like this included right on your site would be beneficial to people who need it.

Above are the most common ways to make sure that your website is accessible, especially for those with visual impairments. Ensuring that your website is accessible will not only be beneficial to your audience, but also to you! You will boost your audience, boost your reputation throughout the community of people who need these adaptations, and also boost your social standing.

People want to do business with companies who truly care about their customers and their community. Making adaptations to your website shows everyone that you not only care about your bottom line, but you also want to ensure that all of your patrons, audience members, future customers, etc. are included and taken care of.

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accessibility, accessibility, disability, disability, web design, web design, web development, web development, visual, visual, impairment, impairment,

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