How to Build a Web Design for Visually Impaired People

Let’s be honest, nobody likes stress, especially disabled people. Statistics show that nearly 2.2 billion people in the world are visually impaired. It is very likely these people will sign out and never visit a website again if they find it difficult to operate. You really can’t blame them.

Make website accessible to visually impaired user

In this internet age of ours, it’s important that disabled people are carried along and not left to figure things out for themselves. The best Web Designers keep this in mind and work on creating features that would help blind people smoothly transition into the internet space, utilize the opportunities within and give them the same quality of user experience as normal people. There’s a lot to discuss in this article about creating custom websites for the blind.

Types of Visual Disability

  • Total Blindness
  • Color Blindness
  • Deaf Blindness
  • Low Vision

Problems encountered by Visually impaired people on the Internet

  • Lack of Page Headings
  • Disorganized Headings
  • Small, unclear letters and lack of features to magnify them
  • Non-word content are not interpreted
  • Most Websites require the mouse as the only medium of control
  • Low Quality Contrasts
  • Too Many Ads

Visually impaired web design

How to design a Sight impaired-Friendly Website

  • Ensure every page has a heading
  • Insert alt texts
  • Don’t oversaturate your page with ads
  • Enable Keyboard Control Mode
  • Font Magnification
  • Use of Adequate amount of contrasts
  • Don’t use too many colors
  • Don’t depend on only colors

Why should you make the Internet User Friendly for Dim sighted People?

It Drives Profitability and Cut costs

A 2020 report titled ‘The Global Economics of Disability 2020’ showed that the global disability market is worth an estimated $13 Trillion. That figure keeps going up because of the constant increase in the population of old people (most of whom end up visually challenged). Making your website convenient for visually disabled people will boost its engagement. More people will visit your website, more will patronize your services and before you know it, you’re cashing out big time. Building such a website will also save you the cost of later having to start from scratch and inputting those features.

It’s not just about Disabled People

Providing web accessibility for disabled people will also give the non disabled a better experience. Features like video captions and screen readers will make it easier for visitors to navigate your site and get wanted information. The beauty of the whole thing is that at the end of the day, everyone benefits from it.

It serves the code of conduct for every business

Every disabled person has a thing or two to contribute to society. Doing such in a digital world is not easy if they don’t have access to the information they need. Imagine a doctor who suffers from presbyopia and is working on his thesis visits your Science blog to do his research. On getting there, he discovers that the font sizes are small. You’ve not just denied him access to your content, you’ve also prevented him from making a discovery which could have benefit humanity.

Your website will rank higher on Search Engines

There are at least thousands of websites offering the same services as yours. There is an algorithm which search engines like Google use to display these websites before their users who are looking for such services. For a website to be placed at the top of the Search Engine Results Page, it must meet some requirements, one of which is Web Accessibility.

The Law Demands it

Most countries have laws that make Usability a prerequisite for most websites. If your website fails to meet up such requirements, you could end up incurring lawsuits because a Visually impaired person is in his right to charge you to court for digital discrimination. You won’t just spend money hiring a lawyer, you may end up paying for damages and your website will also be at the risk of getting shut down.

What Makes Web Content Accessible?

There are many rules for making a website accessible as stated by the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines 2.1. A website can be called accessible if the following conditions are met:

  • its content engages the senses
  • its content can be interpreted by the users
  • its interface has user friendly controls
  • it is compatible with third party applications.

What are the Types of Visual Disability?

Sight impairment exists in different levels. Some of which are:

Total Blindness :

This condition makes users completely unable to use their eyes and to require the assistance of devices called screen readers and Braille keyboards to navigate the internet.

Color Blindness :

Here, the users can see but are unable to differentiate between specific colors.

Web design - normal vs colorblind

Deaf Blindness :

This is a combination of blindness and deafness. They may or may not be completely blind and/or deaf. In addition to screen readers and Braille Keyboards, hearing aids are part of their web browsing requirements.

Low Vision :

Under this condition, the users can see and distinguish colors however their vision is not very sharp, especially when they’re looking at tiny fonts.

Problems Encountered By Visually Impaired People on the Internet:
To come up with a solution, you must first understand the problem. Here are some of the difficulties Visually Disabled people encounter on the web :

  • Lack of Page Headings
  • Disorganized Headings
  • Small, unclear letters and lack of features to magnify them
  • Non-word content are not interpreted
  • Most Websites require the mouse as the only medium of control
  • Low Quality Contrasts
  • Too Many Ads

How to Design a Sight-Impaired Friendly Website

Web design for impaired accessibility people

Ensure every page has a heading

Searching through every page on a website for desired content can be annoying when the website has no heading. Non disabled people will glance through the first few lines and know if what they want or not. However, it’s more difficult for disabled people, especially the ones making use of screen readers to.
It’s not enough to just place a heading, place one that perfectly summarizes the whole content in that page. When such is present, disabled users will have no trouble scrolling from page to page and getting what they came for. That would save them lots of time and reduce their stress.

Insert Alt Texts

In simple terms, an Alt Text is a brief description of an image, a video, an audio, a table or any form of non-text content which is displayed along with it. The alt text is picked up by screen readers and read to the users. If the alt text is absent, the screen reader will pass over the image and read the next content, making the user miss out on some vital information.

Don’t oversaturate your page with Ads

This isn’t talked about enough. Ads are already a thorn in the flesh for non disabled users so imagine what visually impaired users would be going through on that page. It would cause problems for their screen readers.
If you must put ads on your page, then keep them at a minimum and also insert alt texts that begin with ‘Advertisement’ in order to give your users a bit of a heads up.

Enable Keyboard Control Mode

Hotkeys make excellent alternatives to a mouse especially for sight challenged people. Operating a mouse requires communication between the brain, the eye and the hand. In the case of a blind person, that’s nearly impossible and for someone with poor eyesight, it’s a source of convenience. With the keyboard, the use of the eye isn’t necessary especially if that keyboard contains braille alphabets. Hence, you should provide an option that will enable your users to explore your site with a Keyboard.

Font Magnification

This is for the ones with poor eyesight, especially those who don’t have access to screen readers. To prevent them from straining their eyes while reading your page, add a feature which they can use to enlarge the letterings on your page till they can see them properly.

Use Adequate Amount of Contrast

One of the ways to make your text is to ensure that the letters standout from the background color. There are standards to this though. According to the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines 2.1, Normal Text should have a Constant ratio of 4.5:1 and Large Text should have a ratio of 3:1. This doesn’t apply to Texts on Logos or the ones used for decorating your page though. Now, how can you check to see if you’re following those guidelines? You can utilize tools like Lighthouse, Gpick, ColorMania, Pixel Pick and ColorZilla.

Don’t Use Too Many Colors

While designing your website, you need to keep the color blinded people in mind and put your color usage under control. This is because not doing so will make it tough for them to recognize instructions.
If you’re looking for a software that can replicate color blindness, Color Oracle is the right fit. It even works on Windows, Mac and Linux devices.

Don’t Depend on Only Colors

Colors are nice things but that’s not all there is to communication, especially if it involves something urgent. The use of color alone will not be efficient in passing your message across to your user, mostly if he/she is color blinded. For instance, if you want your user to click on a link within the page, merely changing the color of the link won’t do anything. However, when the user sees an underlined link, he/she will recognize the link and click it.
Using icons, changing the text size or making it bold are some of the things that will help the user detect important information.






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