How to make a website for the visually-impaired

By Roman Berezhnoi April 24, 2019 3.35K views

How to make a website for the visually-impaired

Modern web development is very different from web development of early 2000s.

The demand to build websites for visually-impaired people has been increasing in Europe and Noth America. Considering the way websites have been developing until now, one can easily affirm that they are made just for the people with proper visual ability. It is a bad way.

Sadly, some web designers paid much attention to the aesthetic side of websites while neglecting some important aspects which is very important especially for mobile devices.

Now, we all must create ADA compliant websites for business, entertainment, ecommerce, news and hobbies. It means to ensure web content is accessible to all users. But in this article we focus on making a website for the visually-impaired.

Websites meant for the visually-impaired: Prehistory

Wikipedia defines accessibility as being the design of products, devices, services, or environments for people with disabilities.
The implementation of accessibility is now being observed by developers who want their products to remain in demand and meet all the needs of their customers.

Accessibility is more than just the new-fangled chip marketers are trying to push through in time.

Just think about these figures: according to the UN World Health Organization, there are about 124 visually impaired in the world and 39 million blind people, a number greater than the entire population of Canada (37 million people) and almost caught up with the population.

In 1996, during the next meeting of the World Wide Web Consortium, an initiative to improve network accessibility was discussed. The question turned out to be quite relevant and was supported by Adobe, Microsoft and IBM.

Today, special accessibility settings to provide comfortable use of the World Wide Web are implemented in most popular browsers, and the world community uses the generally accepted international standard WCAG 2.0, created specifically for users with special needs.

Today, it is a must to create versions of websites for the blind as The Internet tries to take into account the needs of each person and adapt to all. In this article, we will guide you on how to stay in the trend and not lose potential customers.

Who needs the development of a website for the visually impaired?

Accessibility is for everyone and about everyone. It is not only about the blind and visually impaired, but also about each of us: students who view the web resource from smartphones, businessmen with a laptop in noisy cafes, retirees and people with disabilities. In other words, any of us may be in a situation that is not the most convenient conditions for working with the site or has temporary health problems.

However, there is a certain category of people, especially those who need to introduce new technology. These are visually impaired children and adults who have such diseases:

  • myopia;
  • cataract;
  • glaucoma;
  • astigmatism;
  • colour blindness;

Making your website accessible: requirments

The W3 Web Content Accessibility Guidelines involves the introduction of a number of site standards for the visually impaired.
Your web resource can be stylish, modern and fast, but with all this, your clients should fully work with it under any conditions, which means that website visitors should easily perceive all the components of the interface, the information you post and structure. In order to ensure this, they can introduce a button for the visually impaired on the website, which switches them to a comfortable mode for perception.

And now let’s talk about the site requirements for the visually impaired in more detail.

The first important rule concerns the perceptibility of a resource.

This concept includes:

  1. Your visitors can choose – read, adjust the background colour on which information will be placed, as well as choose the optimal colour of the text block.
  2. Text width is within 80 characters, alignment with the width of the window or block is not allowed.
  3. Font size can be increased without problems by 2 times and even more. And all this while maintaining the same functionality and without the appearance of a horizontal scroll slider.
  4. The required contrast parameters are at least 4.5: 1.
  5. Line spacing – one and a half or even more, and the distance between paragraphs is more than one and a half times than the selected line spacing.

The second important requirement is operability.

This includes the following points:

  1. Simplicity and ease of navigation, determining the position of the user on various pages of a web resource are among the main priorities for the development of a modern website.
  2. For users who manage sites using the keyboard, it is important to make the current focus visible and functions accessible.
  3. Skip duplicate block to quickly navigate to the basic information of the web page.

The next important point is clarity.

And this means:

  1. There are no “surprises” on the part of web pages that should behave predictably;
  2. User comfortably perform data entry on the site;
  3. The very contents of the site, all its content is easy to read and intuitive.
  4. The concept of site reliability includes its compatibility with various platforms and browsers, as well as with special technologies for people with vision problems.

How to make a website for the visually impaired

Among web developers, the term “accessibility” is often shortened to the abbreviation A11Y.  Adaptation of the site for the visually impaired is far from being as easy as it may seem at first glance. It will be much easier for your website to do this if it initially makes a good layout. This is especially true, as now in most cases, the layout is taken carelessly, and as a result, problems arise with the perception of information.

In some cases, when the layout is not well done, you may even need to turn the site over again. That is why it is so important at the development stage to seek help from a web-studio that will deal with your project. In fact, you do not need to reinvent the wheel and complicate your life by making a separate version for people with disabilities. All this can be implemented much easier: you just need to create a convenient and well-designed site.

The first step is a semantically correct layout with the possibility of unhindered navigation using only one keyboard. Of course, there is no limit to perfection, and depending on the needs of the client, you can go much further than the basic rules, but even following the most basic rules, which, in 90% of cases are simply ignored by the developers, would a be a huge plus.

I hope all my recommendation will help you. If you need professional help, F5 Studio offer a full range of services to make your website ADA compliant. Contact project manager.

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