With an estimated 1.3 billion people living in the world with some form of visual impairment, it’s incredibly important as a website owner that you know what type of content to create to ensure all your customers can access your page with ease. Here are a few ways on how to make your content more accessible to the visually impaired.
Label all Buttons and Links
If you label all links and buttons to state exactly what they mean, this means that visually impaired and blind people can understand what they are, whether they are using a screen-reader to read out the label or magnification software. It’s important to note that screen-readers are unable to read graphics, as they can’t interpret them, making it near to impossible for users with poor vision to see. Therefore, labeling solves the issue and makes your website more accessible.
Label Comment Forms
Feedback on a website can be incredibly beneficial, so ensure that you label the comment form correctly, so screen-readers do not read messages such as ‘radio button’ or ‘edit field’. Simply making sure that you label each box correctly can make all the difference. For example, ‘comment’, ‘email address’, and ‘name’ can allow visually impaired people to know where to comment.
Use a Good Size Font
If you use small text on your website, this will make it harder for visually impaired and blind people to read your content. Make sure that your font and content is clear for all to see, so each user can get all the benefits from your page.
Dark Font against Light Background
Not only should your font be of a size that’s easy to read, but you should also consider what type of color the font will be on your website. Try to avoid using light colors such as white and instead opt for sans-serif font. This will improve readability and accessibility for all and will also look better when factoring in branding. You should also consider the style of font you use for your website. Not only can the type of font be hard to read for the visually impaired, but those with good eyesight may struggle to see your content.
If your website uses captcha verification, whether it is when a user submits a comment or wants to subscribe, you should consider the possibility of including an audio option. As screen-readers are unable to read the graphics, this makes it hard for those with visual impairment to see what you are displaying. Including an audio-option on your website is a great alternative, while still maintaining your page’s security. If you do not include an audio option, visually impaired people will simply click away from your page as there are no other alternative ways of using it.
Adding Alt Text
One of the most important factors that you need to consider is using alt text on images. It’s incredibly easy to do and can help tremendously for the blind or visually impaired who visit your page. Alt text (alternative text) is a written description of an image which describes what is in an image, helping those with a visual impairment to get an idea of what the picture displays, helping them interpret the meaning in their own way. This can be a great way for users to be more engaged with your website, so ensure you add alt text in your images, rather than the description box.
A lot of people believe that the alt text box is on a website to improve search engine optimization. While this may be true, it’s an incredibly invaluable tool for screen-reader users. You can make a photo description that links with SEO, however, ensure you do not put any keywords in the alt text box. Doing so serves no purpose to the visually impaired. If you aren’t sure how to add alt text, make sure that you put a photo description below the images in your post instead.
People with visual impairment often must navigate websites using shortcut keys. Therefore, you should use headings on your website so they can access your page efficiently and easily. Skipping through post titles and other areas of the page makes it much simpler for those who need that extra bit of help.
Make Link Text Relevant
Instead of just putting ‘click here’, make sure that you are more informative to help those with a visual impairment. To do this, you should put something such as ‘check out my post on…’, which helps people understand what sort of website they will be directed to should they click on the link. There are all sorts of techniques that you can use in your website to make it that little bit easier for those who struggle to view your page.
Avoid Automatic Video and Audio
While it may sound good and look nice, using audio and video that starts automatically can make it very difficult for those who have a visual impairment to navigate your website. For those who use screen-readers, they will have to listen to the video and audio that’s already playing, as well as what the screen-reader is saying, making it incredibly challenging. If you want to use audio and video on your website, make sure to include an option for users to click to start if they want to, instead of having it play automatically.
Test Your Website
The look and accessibility of your website can often differ on various devices and browsers. Therefore, you need to test your website out first before it goes live. Ensure that all the features you have included in your website work on every type of browser and device. Doing this means that those with visual impairment do not have to try out several browsers to find the best option.
You will want your website to be accessible for all, whether they have a visual impairment or not. The content you provide on your page needs to be labeled correctly, in a good size font and able to be read by those with a visual impairment. Taking all the tips listed on-board can make all the difference and ensure your website is inclusive for all.