I am legally blind. Above is a graphic of what the world looks like to most people and what it looks like to me. According to the National Federation of the Blind, as of 2015, there are 7,297,100 or (2.3%) visually disabled people, aged 16-75+, in the United States.
As you build your web presence, is your design friendly to the visually impaired who manage using glasses on top of glasses, as I usually do, or who benefit from screen readers?
Here are some tips:
- Make sure your font is friendly. There are beautiful blogs that I don’t even try to read because the font is dainty, feminine, swirly, or in poor contrast to the background.
- Contrast is key. White on black, black on white. Make it clear and obvious. The light gray font that is so popular right now might look lovely on a page but it is difficult to read even for sighted folks I know.
- White space is good. Screen readers like it and so do folks who are still trying to manage on their own. Most designers will tell you that white space on a web page is your friend simply because it makes what is on the page stand out.
- Alt tags on images. If you don’t want to take the time to do it to benefit your visually impaired readers, here’s a pro tip: SEO LOVES ALT TAGS! Okay, I might have yelled a little there. Sorry.
- Hashtags. A screen reader, or even someone with some sight, does much better with #DesignForEasyReading than #designforeasyreading. Go ahead and cap the first letter of each word!
Just remember that you can design, or have designed for you, a beautiful and functional site that is still friendly to the visually impaired. Sometimes simple is best.