Yes, with time, we have caught up with modernization where developers are building websites that may be accessible by visually impaired visitors. So, you can expect blind people also like your website users.
Besides most visitors, the developers and content creators should consider visually impaired users while developing their websites. They should also find it easy to operate and understand your sites.
This post will offer you almost every essential information about developing a website conveniently accessible to blind people.
Keep reading to get it better!
Blind & Visually Imapired People in the U.S.
First, we will know some common facts about eye disorders. You will learn how blindness arrives with the distinct conditions, how you can say someone visually impaired people, “legally blind,” and fit with the below description.
Let’s check out!
- According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, around 12 million people aged 40 and above in the US have vision impairment. Additionally, it includes 3 million vision impairments even after correction, 1 million blind, and 8 million vision impairments because of uncorrected refractive error.
- Around 6.8% of children who are 18 years or less in the US have been diagnosed with vision and eye conditions. Approximately 3% of children of the same age are visually impaired and face issues seeing even after wearing contact lenses or glasses.
- As per the report by The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH), about 2000 US workers experience job-relevant eye injuries every day that demand medical treatment. Although many eye doctors and safety experts think the proper eye protection can lower the severity or prevent 90% of such eye injuries.
- About 93 million adults in the US are at high risk of severe vision loss, but just half consulted an eye expert in the past 12 months.
- The annual economic effect of major vision issues among adults of 40+ age is $145 billion and even more.
- One of the top ten disabilities among 18 years and more is vision disability, a significant disability issue for children.
- Around 90% of blindness results from diabetes and can be prevented.
- Timely treatment and early detection, like diabetic retinopathy, have been noticed as cost-effective and productive.
What are Web Accessibility and Web Design for Vision Impaired Users?
Various blind people prefer using screen readers to access web content. A screen reader is a sort of assistive technology. It’s a software program that facilitates blind web users to “read” a page’s content with either a braille display or a speed synthesizer. The screen readers appear to be an interface between a computer OS, app, and a user.
Moreover, screen readers hold the caliber to read various text combinations, embracing single lines, single words, or the text’s complete sections. Also, one can use it to spell words, emerge with a specific group of words or a particular word on a page, or tell about a cursor’s location.
Next, when we come onto the web design for blind users, specific design considerations come to the surface that eases a blind user’s web experience.
Let’s check them out below:
Various screen readers will highlight a list of headings, subheadings, and the page’s structural makers. It permits screen reader users and the keyboard navigating users to try the page’s different sections and focus on other essential elements of the page.
Remember to include proper tags, like <h1> for title level heading.
An example of Bad HTML vs Good HTML code
<font size="7">My heading</font> <br><br> This is the first section of my document. <br><br> I'll add another paragraph here too. <br><br> <font size="5">My subheading</font> <br><br> This is the first subsection of my document. I'd love people to be able to find this content! <br><br> <font size="5">My 2nd subheading</font> <br><br> This is the second subsection of my content. I think it is more interesting than the last one.
<h1>My heading</h1> <p>This is the first section of my document.</p> <p>I'll add another paragraph here too.</p> <h2>My subheading</h2> <p>This is the first subsection of my document. I'd love people to be able to find this content!</p> <h2>My 2nd subheading</h2> <p>This is the second subsection of my content. I think it is more interesting than the last one.</p>
Obviously, not all but some blind users are physically able to use a trackpad or mouse, but they can’t see the cursor of the mouse, where it’s pointing. Because of this, many visually blind people prefer using keyboards for navigating through a web app or web page.
So, be sure your web content permits keyboard navigation.
Keyboard Testing for Accesibility
These are the standard shortcuts that one should test with a website via the keyboard.
|Navigate to interactive elements||TabShift + Tab – navigate backward||Keyboard focus indicators must be present.Navigation order should be logical and intuitive.|
|Link||Enter – activate the link|
|Button||Enter or Spacebar – activate the button||Ensure elements with ARIA |
|Checkbox||Spacebar – check/uncheck a checkbox||Checkboxes should be used when one or more options in a group can be selected.|
|Radio buttons||↑/↓ or ←/→ – select an option.Tab – move to the next element.||Radio buttons should be used when only one option from a group can be selected.|
|Select (dropdown) menu||↑/↓ – navigate between menu optionsSpacebar – expand||You can also filter or jump to options in the menu as you type letters.|
|Autocomplete||Type to begin filtering↑/↓ – navigate to an optionEnter – select an option|
|Dialog||Esc – close||Modal dialogs should maintain keyboard focus.Non-modal dialogs should close automatically when they lose focus.When a dialog closes, focus should usually return to the element that opened the dialog.|
|Slider||↑/↓ or ←/→ – increase or decrease slider valueHome/End – beginning or end||For double-headed sliders (to set a range), Tab/Shift + Tab should toggle between each end.In some sliders PageUp/PageDown can move by a larger increment (e.g., by 10%).|
|Menu bar||↑/↓ – Previous/next menu optionEnter – expand the menu (optional) and select an option.←/→ – expand/collapse submenu||A menu bar dynamically changes content within an application. Links that utilize Tab/Enter are NOT menu bars.|
|Tab panel||Tab – once to navigate into the group of tabs and once to navigate out of the group of tabs↑/↓ or ←/→ – choose and activate previous/next tab.||This is for ‘application’ tabs that dynamically change content within the tab panel. If a menu looks like a group of tabs, but is actually a group of links to different pages, Tab and Enter are more appropriate.|
|‘Tree’ menu||↑/↓ – Navigate Previous/next menu option←/→ – expand/collapse submenu, move up/down one level.|
|Scroll||↑/↓ – scroll vertically←/→ – scroll horizontallySpacebar/Shift + Spacebar – scroll by page||The space bar will, by default, scroll the page is an interactive control that allows space bar input is not focused. Horizontal scrolling should be minimized.|
Screen reader users want immediate feedback once they perform a command. When someone fills a form, expands content, or opens a new tab or page with a screen reader, they should be well-informed.
So, don’t forget to include proper tools in your design to offer feedback that a screen reader user can listen to.
Proper Labels, Values, and Rules
As custom controls don’t clutch any native semantic parts, you should ensure having proper HTML labels, values, and roles that change when needed. Screen readers can let the users know what a widget is or how it works with such labels and roles.
For example, suppose you append ARIA labels and roles for media volume or collapse/expand buttons. In that case, it will permit screen reader users to access controls and utilize them as per the plan.
Visually impaired people can hear what’s going on in a video if they don’t have an auditory impairment. But, they may miss the details that they can’t see.
If you decide to have videos on your site or web app, you can offer video descriptions that deliver information that a video is showing, but without saying it aloud.
So, try a web design that can allow video descriptions one can access wherever required.
Importance of Web Accessibility and Web Design for Those With Disabilities
Let’s now review the importance of web accessibility and its benefits.
Website designing considering web accessibility is a legal responsibility, the right thing, and best for the site and business performance.
Below are the chief reasons that will reveal what one should make his website accessible:
Build Your Own Accesible Website
The first reason comes from ethics. The responsibility of a business is to offer equal access to the disabled people who access your site, like physically-abled web users. An accessible site assists people with impairments to participate actively in the community.
Today, the internet has become an essential and fundamental part of our modern lives. So, to get complete access to resources and information, one should hold the caliber to access the internet. But, not everyone comes with equal abilities for web access. Additionally, some physically disabled people find it easier to interact and conduct online business in person.
In many countries, web accessibility is a legal requirement. In fact, according to the Workforce Rehabilitation Act of 1973, federal agencies should offer communications and information that disabled people can also access in the US.
If disabled users can’t find your site accessible to read essential information, they can file a petition against your company for digital discrimination.
Enhanced Brand Reputation
Making your site accessible will bestow your brand a label of a socially responsible site and will reveal that your company takes care of others. It will improve your audience’s brand image, thereby increasing sales.
The research found that around 62% of customers choose to buy from brands that stand for their issues and resolve them and move away from those who just ignore them. Be sure your site and brand are socially responsible by keeping your website accessibility on priority.
Access to a Large Market
As per a report, one in four US adults has a disability. People with disabilities may not be your primary customers, but they are possibly a part of your audience.
About 80% and more disabled people don’t trust a service provider who’s not offering good accessibility to their site.Essential Accesibility
Moreover, you need to remember that people using assistive devices hold enormous purchasing strengths. So, by targeting this market ideally, you can take your business to the next level before your audience, willing to pay more for a premium service.
Improved SEO and User Experience
The best practices of web accessibility match with those for mobile web design, SEO, and usability. Adding transcripts to videos and alt text to images are the best SEO and web accessibility practices.
Web accessibility demands your website to be highly well-organized regarding navigation structure, headings, titles, content, etc. It would add to your SEO efforts, site usability, and overall user experience.
Moreover, a web accessibility best practice is also to have clean code, which will lead to a better website holding fewer bugs, and faster load time.
Issues Visually Impaired People Experience When Navigating the Web
Let’s review some common digital problems that visually impaired people experience while using a web that is not coded or accessible to favor assistive technology.
Areas Not Accessible Via The Screen Reader
Screen readers fail to easily access some content types, such as tables, visuals, graphics, and more. Screen readers can understand the link between elements on rows and columns using specific HTML tags.
The same is for images. Screen readers may be robust tools for blind people, but they fail to analyze images. So, to understand visual content, such devices would need alternative text.
Similarly, a website developer should mark the interactive elements using the apt HTML elements.
Missing Language Information
Screen readers presume that entire website content is available in the user’s default language. When software reads it in a foreign language following the English pronunciation rules, it leads to issues.
Well, text can be in a combination of multiple languages. If that happens and the screen reader is not programmed for the pronunciation rules, the users may be confused.
Language declaration for an English web page in XHTML:
<html xmlns="http://website.com/xhtml" xml:lang="en" lang="en">
Language declaration for an English web page in HTML5:
<html xml:lang="en" lang="en">
Page Content Not Structured With Headings
The users without any visual disabilities can access a web page and understand its layout, visual design, or proximity, but a screen reader can’t. A visually impaired user can only get a comparable web experience through a proper structure with related headings and code associations.
Headings Not Following a Structure
Visually impaired website users rarely prefer reading a complete web page. Instead, they prefer scanning the page that interests them the most. Moreover, they access web pages holding relevant information by using screen readers to list the headings.
Improper headings on the page will not help the user catch up with something they were looking for on that page.
So, you should never use the headings decoratively and put them in a logical descending way on the page.
Links and Buttons Without Accessible Description
Some screen reader users utilize a function that lists all the links on a page.
In this case, you need to have available anchor text on buttons and links, like “click here.” It would not be that useful but can be very frustrating for blind users. Even the worst cases are empty buttons and links and invalid URLs. The broken links on your site will leave readers confused and result in a bad experience. Similarly, ensure that all your CTA buttons are clickable and take the users to the right landing pages. Check out W3.org guidelines and test case for accessible buttons.
Content Not Accessible by Keyboards
Many screen reader users utilize a keyboard as their primary tool for web access. In this case, web features that just perform when using a touchscreen or mouse are useless. It’s the main issue for visually impaired and keyboard users because of motor disabilities.
Low Color Contrast Between Text and Backgrounds
One of the essential web accessibility elements, color contrast, helps users read content on a page. Contrast differentiates the brightness between two colors.
A typical web accessibility issue is low contrast on text, as sensitive people with low contrast, like older people or people suffering from color blindness, may be incapable of distinguishing between text and backgrounds of specific colors with a low contrast ratio.
According to an accessibility evaluation of a million website home pages, around 86.4% of home pages had low contrast tests.Bureau of Internet Accesibility
And it emerged with an ideal color contrast ratio of about 7:1 for standard text and around 4.5:1 for the larger ones.
Well, it’s easy to fix low contrast by adapting website design and themes to easily accessible color combinations. One can use accessibility tools to check if there’s enough contrast between the text and background.
Non-HTML Content Can’t be Accessed
Accessibility problems extend to content also, such as documents hosted on a site. Non-HTML content, like PowerPoint presentations, PDFs, or Word documents, must be accessible.
You can make such documents accessible. Screen readers can tag PDFs for navigation, while PPT and word documents provide an Accessibility Checker function in the software itself to craft accessible documents.
Missing or Inaccurate Alt Text
Developing an accessible site doesn’t mean you can forgo images, and it’s just like your site editors need to be careful while assigning alt tags to images. The alt tags need to describe images’ information. Also, the description needs to be concise as screen readers have the habit of quickly navigating through content.
Moreover, the editors should know that the screen reader will first access all the alt text before reading the image caption. If the alt text and caption are identical, the user will listen to the same information twice. Although technically manageable, it’s still not a great user experience.
Ambiguous Link Text
Ambiguous link text such as “More” or “Click Here” can make sense to the sighted web users, where the visual content emerges with some context. But, for the screen readers users, such link texts are instances of bad UI.
Besides the text it precedes, such vague links still fail to convey sufficient information to the user. As screen reader users hold the caliber to navigate from link to link, skipping the text in between, they don’t offer context about the link and its destination.
You can fix this using informative text that offers some detail regarding the link.
Missing Link Text
Links are essential for web navigation, but they come with accessibility issues. The visually impaired people face a missing link text as a common obstacle, which occurs when the text is absent in a link that can describe it.
If you want to avoid this, you can use alt text to solve the image purpose and the action that needs to be taken, apart from just describing the image.
Form Timeouts and Expirations
As many forms come with security functions, they expire after a certain period. Although the ones using assistive technology to fill the forms will find the process taking longer, they will not know about the time limit.
So, you can remove such time-outs on your forms, let them know that the form is time-limited, or offer assistive technology functionality to the users to extend the time limit to complete the process.
Most sites have form fields that users need to fill, and such forms often showcase accessibility issues for visually impaired people. The biggest problem with such forms is that they don’t have the correct labels and the instructions that can permit screen readers to convey details relevant to the form. Every field demands an accessible label for the screen reader to read and know what they need to fill. Moreover, the buttons should display clear text to know what to choose after filling out the form. If you prefer using CAPTCHAs, you will need audio or other visually impaired users.
Also, you need to think about the incorrectly filled forms. Generally, sites return the incorrectly filled form highlighting it with red marks. But, what about the blind people who can’t see this. Here, the text should be read out to explain which part of the form needs the correction.
Such accessibility issues are relatively easy to fix and even avoid once you know about them. So, you should educate yourself when it comes to web accessibility and use any web accessibility auditing software to locate issues if they slip and tackle them before the users catch up with them.
Tips on How to Make a Website Accessible for the Blind and Visually Impaired
One needs to consider various vital factors while making his site accessible for visually impaired users.
So, a site should be:
- Operable: You need to make your web content keyboard accessible as some blind people use adaptive devices that match keyboards in terms of functionality. So, your site shouldn’t require users to use a mouse.
- Robust: Make your web content compatible with assistive technologies and the devices that blind people use.
- Perceivable: The users find the information on your website easy to understand. Such a principle is usually ignored while developing a website.
For example, visually impaired people can’t perceive visual details, like layout and graphics.
- Understandable: Your web content needs to be easy to understand for all the users. So, try making it as clear and straightforward as possible. Be sure that your users find it tough to understand because of cognitive and learning disabilities.
While some sites decide to develop a separate version of their site that is screen-reader friendly and crafted for visually impaired people, generally, it’s not a good idea unless one keeps his site updated routinely.
Mostly, you can use the below best practices to make your site accessible for visually impaired people and partially sighted people.
Provide sufficient contrast using colors and textures
You can use high contrast between text and background color, and it’s crucial, especially for color-blind people. At the least, you need to meet WCAG 2.0 AA requirements that demand a contrast ratio of about 4:5:1 for the regular text and around 3:1 for the larger ones.
Moreover, you can use tools to check the element’s value—most color contrast checkers review for compliance with this standard.
Some partially sighted users usually highlight the text to increase contrast and put CSS and JS techniques aside that stop users from highlighting.
In the end, we would like to recommend you avoid watermarked or crowded background patterns that can make it tough to read or distract some users.
Limit and prioritize color in the interface
You may leave the users in confusion and distracted using too many hues. Also, it can make it complex for the users to find essential items. So, try and restrict the number of colors you consider.
For color-blind users, you can’t rely on the color alone to make them perceive the information. For that, you need to stick to a few colors and avoid using red on the green or vice versa to prevent their confusion.
Allow manual font size adjustment
Front size appears to be a common issue with web accessibility for partially sighted users.
As the best font size is nowhere, you need to have adaptive pages where the users can adjust the font size manually. Also, you can make the default font size at least 10 points, big enough so that the users don’t need to adjust it manually.
If most of your website users are partially sighted or seniors, you can make the default font size larger and consider appending a button that holds the caliber to load a larger font size.
In the end, you need to ensure that your site’s content layout doesn’t break with enabled text-only zoom, and it may lead to overlapped text with adjacent content and become unclear.
Don’t rely on color alone to communicate important information
You need to clarify that warnings, alerts, and actionable page elements are meaningful by including simple color changes. People all over the globe understand that blue, underlined text is a link, and on the contrary, some websites underline blue text but don’t link anything. You need to make colorblind users trust that the underline will let them know that it’s a link when the color treatment is removed.
Furthermore, the users will benefit from the icons and related labels with the actionable page and alert elements. Every page element needs to hold multiple visual cues.
Grant keyboard accessibility
Some visually disabled users depend on keyboard-alone to navigate the web; you need to facilitate keyboard shortcuts and the commands to ease their navigation on your site. Generally, we don’t prefer making the device a need.
Use explicit and descriptive labels for links and buttons
You need to stop using vague links, like “click here.” People who prefer using screen readers usually use a keyboard shortcut to enlist every link on a page to navigate more proficiently. As links’ list has no surrounding text, it crafts a contextless state as it’s essential to create explicit and descriptive link labels that appear to be meaningful.
Descriptive link labels can help promote scannability for the sighted users and act as a bonus, and this assists in boosting SEO for the website.
A browser and screen readers are the standard ways blind users surf the web. The designers should know about the working of text-to-speech software that assists blind people to “read” sites.
A screen reader translates the web pages into plain text, following scans through the page, and reads it loudly line by line, one element every time, linearly moving down the page. This linear progression throughout the page lets various challenges stand before the blind users, specifically relevant to the ease of comprehension, content consumption, and scanning.
On the other edge, visually impaired users should move down the page linearly, similarly one element every time, and should listen for the content they found in the first spot. It may take much of the time and may demand much concentration, or a user may miss why he visited that website first.
Provide alt text or descriptions for non-text content
After reading an image or graphic, the screen reader reads the image’s alt text. If it doesn’t have that, the screen reader will skip. That’s why it’s good to offer alt text for graphics and images. You should target keeping descriptions for audio and video short and to the point. Also, don’t forget that screen reader follow a linear way, so try showcasing your point across your text and alt text in a few words.
Use headings to organize page content
It’s a best practice that proves to be beneficial for all users. Screen readers follow many ways that support scannability permitting the users to glide down the pages to attain a complete impression of the web page’s content. The most common among them is to jump from heading to heading. While a screen reader skims a page, users can listen to the page’s essential details and take an overview. It’s impossible to scan the content without headings. You need to remember that it’s a critical rule for designers who organize content, including headings, and showcase a correct overview of the page’s content.
Use descriptive titles for every page
Besides headlines, the web page or site always needs to hold titles that reveal the purpose or topic of the page. When the web page loads at first, screen readers announce the page’s title, and that’s why you need to use titles for all the pages. The blind users who use screen readers save valuable time consumed by scanning pages to know what content they hold.
On your site, having numerous ads can lay a bad experience on the users, especially for screen reader users who fail to distinguish this content type from other pages’ content easily.
For visual advertisements, be sure you consider the same and put the word “advertisement” at the starting of alt text. This way, visually disabled users will know what content type your site holds and can decide whether to read it or not.
Use Empty Alt Text
Screen readers read text and code. So, visually impaired people may find some elements annoying while accessing content. So, unnecessary visual assets may be better to skip the screen reader altogether.
For instance, if your site holds decorative images that are not important for blind people, you can use empty alt text for them to let the screen readers know to skip that code.
Takeaways When Designing Websites for Visually Impaired or Blind
Remember the below tips while designing websites for blind users.
- Try making possible and attainable web experiences that reduce accessibility barriers and ease internet usage.
- Ensure integrating the best practices (mentioned above) into your workflow.
- Use web-based, free accessibility evaluation tools for content assessment on your site and ensure WCAG compliance.
- Keep accessibility on priority in the design community.
Tools That Help Build & Surf the Web for Visually Impaired People
Modern computing has improved information access for visually disabled people. If you are also bearing the same pain from low vision and complete blindness, you can use the tools available in the market.
Below, we will check out a few tools that you can use to ease blind users to surf the web.
1. Screen Readers
Apple Voiceover is a useful screenreader with lots of functionalities. Other popular screenreaders are:
- JAWS (Job Access with Speech)
- NVDA (Non-Visual Desktop Access)
- Voiceover (OSx and IOS)
- Talkback (Android)
The concept behind it is the software reads the on-screen elements and translates them to voice to ease blind users to interact with them.
It’s an interface between the computer’s OS, apps, and the user. The user presses distinct combinations of keys on the braille display or keyboard to send a command to the speech synthesizer what to say and automatically when changes take place on the computer screen.
This way, the synthesizer spell or read a word, line, or text’s full screen and emerge with a string of text on the screen, say aloud the location of the focused item, and more.
Moreover, it permits the users to conduct more advanced functions, like locating text displayed in a specific color, reading the pre-designated screen parts, etc.
Such apps perform by crafting a model of the screen’s content and interpreting them as text. Other modern implementations utilize in-built APIs that OS offers.
On mobile, screen readers hold tight system integrations, especially iOS, where accessibility is a successful feature of the OS. Such APIs permit developers to append content descriptions to interface elements.
2. Special Browsers
Some browsers are specially crafted for people with visual disabilities. They arrive with varied features, like screen magnifier, optical character recognition, voice recognition, screen readers, speech synthesizers, etc.
Such browsers assist browsing web pages, permit forms, filling, web searches, facilitating the usage of online email, etc.
3. Screen Magnifiers
It assists people with low vision and who need to strain their eyes to read small text. Such programs zoom in on the screen’s area in detail, enlarging both images and text. The zoom here relies on your configuration.
In some cases, the whole screen zooms in to its native resolutions, drawing the standard size elements.
Many screen readers hold a secondary mode that puts a window on a screen that acts as a magnifier. It can either float all over the screen, enlarging as it can be pinned at one area on the screen and go with the mouse.
Additional options are also available that assist the visually impaired. Inverted colors put the white text on a black background. For the more straightforward distinction between the color values, colorblind users can enable the grayscale.
Screen magnifiers are developed into all the major OS. These arrive with basic settings that permit you to use any configuration.
4. Color Safe
It empowers creative designers with accessible and alluring color palettes as per WCAG guidelines of background and text contrast ratios. It offers AA and AAA-compliant color suggestions for your site’s existing elements.
5. Color Contrast Analyser
This extension permits you to analyze the text color contrast issues on a webpage as per the WCAG 2 text color contrast needs. Additionally, it evaluates the web page as displayed on the browser. This way, it allows text handling over gradients and the advanced CSS attributes. You can opt to analyze a part of a web page, the entire visible content of a web, or the complete web page.
Moreover, you can evaluate the files on your PC that you can open in Chrome, PDF, and image files.
6. NVDA (NonVisual Desktop Access)
NVDA allows visually impaired and blind people to use computers as free screen readers. It assists in evaluating if the visually impaired or blind users would hold the caliber to comfortably access the site content using the keyboard shortcuts and text-to-speech output.
7. WebAIM’s Wave
A suite of evaluation tools, WAVE assists authors in making their web content more accessible to disabled people. Moreover, it’s known for identifying various accessibility and Web Content Accessibility Guideline (WCAG) errors. Also, it facilitates human evaluation of website content.
8. Social Media Photo Annotations
Twitter and Facebook hold the products to assist the visually impaired in accessing pictures on their social networks.
While uploading pictures with Twitter’s mobile apps with your tweet, you can enable a feature, namely, Accessible Images, and add a description to the image. It’s just available on iOS and Android apps right now.
Moreover, it utilizes the current alt text standard, an in-built attribute of the IMG HTML tag. The text is always available when reading your feed with a braille display or screen readers.
9. Refreshable Braille Displays
It acts as an input or display device for blind users. A row of “letters” runs across the bottom, and a sequence of pins known as characters just pops up to build braille letters. It’s used in conjunction with screen readers.
The deafblind users can only interact with a computer through braille readers only.
Various braille displays hold a built-in Perkins keyboard that is a keyboard dedicated to typing braille. It comes with size input, each corresponding to one of the size dots in the braille characters. Additionally, it has a QWERTY keyboard with additional keys dedicated to navigation.
10. Vinux for Linux Users
A Linux distro, Vinux combines such technologies for an easy-to-set-up accessible computer. It’s an Ubuntu variant.
Additionally, it offers a pre-configured accessible environment, making it easier to set up and configure a new computer for blind users than current Linux distros.
A call for help is a unique feature of Vinux developed into the Linux command line. The screen reader and other accessibility traits are developed into most distros. The best and unique part of Vinux is they are by default enabled during the installation, and a default accessible installer proves to be an outstanding solution for blind users.
You Have A Vision
We Have The Means To Get You There
Popular WordPress Plugins for Visually Impaired
A report says about 40% of web users prefer WordPress as a CMS. It means many users with physical disabilities interact with such websites every day.
You may also have a WordPress website. Is your website accessible?
Web accessibility demands dedication and time to get it as expected. Also, it needs to be the priority for both seasoned and beginner WordPress admins.
You can opt for installing WordPress plugins to get it done.
Let’s check out the best WordPress accessibility plugins to make your site easier to experience and navigate.
1. WP Accessibility
A free WordPress accessibility plugin, WP Accessibility is one of the best picks for locating common WordPress accessibility issues. It appends various accessibility enhancers with no need for administrators to write code. You can enable and disable all such options from the setting menu.
The best part of this plugin is its skip links that are connected to different areas of the page. Moreover, skip links allow screen reader users to jump on to other parts of a page and avoid content that’s not relevant, like navigation menus. WP Accessibility appends skip links into your pages and appears only when triggered using an assistive device or keyboard.
Furthermore, this plugin arrives with the ability to craft an outline around targetable elements. This assists in signaling users their current focusing point on the page, be it a button, link, text input, etc. Also, you can customize the color of this outline as per your website.
Additionally, this plugin can make you know your page’s language (for screen reader pronunciation), append long image descriptions, add the post titles to “read more links,” remove repeated title attributes, and more.
2. One Click Accessibility
One more free accessibility plugin, One-Click Accessibility, makes various user-friendly changes to your WordPress website. This choice is best for admins who need an easy setup with simple controls.
This plugin allows essential accessibility boosts, embracing skip links to your pages, removing the focused attribute from links to stop links from opening in a new tab, and outlining focus and ARIA landmarks.
Moreover, using its accessibility toolbar, this WordPress plugin can highlight your links, activate negative contrast and high contrast, resize fonts, and connect to a sitemap and help pages.
All such measures make your website more accessible and more SEO-friendly. You can toggle visual enhancements via WordPress customizer, allowing you to preview your modifications before making them live.
3. WP Accessibility Helper
WP Accessibility Helper permits toggling accessibility features from the dashboard and allows to change colors, resize fonts, highlight and underline links, and avoid page styling and animations.
Although this plugin is free, it also comes with a premium version, including bonuses that you miss in a freemium plan and a lot more.
A SaaS, accessiBe enhance web accessibility. It uses AI technology to scan your site for accessibility issues on both ends of your site. Moreover, it learns about your page elements’ purposes and adjusts the alt tags, icons, ARIA attributes, forms, buttons, and more for a more accessible, better user experience.
accessiBe also changes your page structures to make them keyboard-navigable, embracing changing dropdowns, buttons, pop-ups, skip links, and forms. The service process routine scans for content changes, lowering friction when you alter your website.
This free plugin, accessiBe connects its services to our WordPress site.
accessiBe will assist 20% and more visitors having disabilities to access your website easily. It’s trusted to safeguard tens of thousands of small industry leaders and businesses.
One more way the website owners can opt to enhance their site’s accessibility is UserWay, where you can use automation in WordPress. Without changing your site’s code, the AI-assisted scanning service of this website monitors your website for accessibility issues, specifically targeting keyboard-only navigation.
UserWay is a paid subscription service that offers a free widget that makes basic accessibility adjustments to your site. Using it, you can control color contrast, color, focus, keyboard navigation, and more.
6. WP ADA Compliance Check Basic
This free WordPress plugin doesn’t modify your site; rather, it scans it for emerging accessibility issues and crafts reports with instructions to locate them.
Furthermore, it also checks for violations of Section 508 and the WCAG 2.1 LEVEL A/AA Web Accessibility Standards.
WP ADA Compliance Check Basic also holds the caliber to evaluate content as it becomes live so that you can scan your whole site at once.
7. Accessibility Widget
For an easy and quick way to place an accessibility panel on your site, you can use the Accessibility Widget plugin. It’s a free tool that appends an accessibility sidebar widget that permits users to alter the text’s size on the screen. This minimal plugin performs on desktop and mobile screens, and you can pick your text sizes and which page elements you want to get affected by the widget.
8. WP Accessibility Tools & Missing Alt Text Finder
One more simple and effective tool, the WP Accessibility Tools & Missing Alt Text Finder, assists in making your site accessible for users with impairments. Its main feature is a missing alt text finder that evaluates your pages, media library, and posts for images with no alt text and then permits you to add it just with a click easily. Also, you can append description caption text or text via the plugin.
Furthermore, this free plugin embraces a contrast ratio checker, which ensures your pages reach the APA needs for color contrast and an interactive checklist listing WCAG requirements for accessibility.
9. wA11y – The Web Accessibility Toolbox (Last updated 1yr ago)
This WordPress plugin embraces tools to gauge and enhance your website’s accessibility.
wA11y arrives with two primary features, WAVE, and TOTA11Y. The former one is a widely known accessibility evaluation tool that recognizes accessibility problems at any live site. And the latter one is an accessibility toolkit crafted by Khan Academy that checks how well your website houses assistive technologies. It considers standard accessibility inclusions, such as headings, alt text, color contrast, and landmarks.
You don’t need a plugin to reap the benefits of TOTA11Y and WAVE, as this plugin eases the incorporation of both into your WordPress workflow.
How to check websites that are not accessible for people with disabilities?
A website will not be considered fully accessible if it shows one of the following conditions
- No text alternatives for images
- No associated labels for form fields
- No heading structure defined
- Deprecated Marquee has been used
- No keyboard functionality for flash content and drop-down menus
- Not enough government identity is present – (all government websites should display the government’s identity through emblems.)
- If websites have a poor color contrast
- Websites using table-based layouts
- Information is cluttered
- Websites do not have a mechanism to send feedback
- There is no mechanism to skip the navigational module
- No accessibility options such as large text or color schemes are provided
- Forms do not have a mechanism for error handling
- Websites do not have appropriate page titles
- Websites do not have a site map
How to view blurred text on websites for accessibility?
In some cases, you can improve the visibility of the text by using the guidelines provided by
- Google Chrome steps to Fix text that isn’t displaying properly
- Microsoft edge steps to test whether a page is usable with blurred vision
To further check whether your website is accessible or not you can use the Chrome Dev Tools for accessibility testing
How do I know if my website is Vision Impaired-friendly?
Now, we will check out some tools that we can use to test the accessibility compliance of your websites.
Tools for Checking Color Contrast
First, we will review some accessibility tools that can help us review color contrast.
Color Contrast Analyzer
An app that provides color pickers and visual guides to some common deficiencies and an RGB slider so you can push color to check if you can make it suitable.
It’s a free Mac app that resides in the menu bar and permits designers to evaluate how the design appears to be under distinct conditions, Protanopia (blindness to red), Deuteranopia (blindness to green), and Tritanopia (blue-yellow color blindness).
Color Contrast Ratio Checker
It permits switching a given pair of colors between the background and text colors and supports more recent color values, like HSLa, RGBa, etc.
Tools for Checking Code
Now, let’s check out some accessibility tools for reviewing the code.
Siteimprove accessibility checker
This accessibility tool features an easy option to pick responsibility, like which job role would be the right one to resolve the located problem. You can select between Webmasters, Editors, or Developers.
WAVE Browser extension
Firefox and Chrome tools will check a wide range of features, embracing alt text usage, color contrast, form features, Accessible Rich Internet Applications (ARIA) labels, missing titles, Document Object Model (DOM) structure, duplicate content, etc. This tool also offers tips on how to resolve the found issues and references to the accessibility guidelines.
An online tool, AChecker is best for testing live websites and offers results collected by Guidelines.
Tools for Testing Keyboard Navigation
A fantastic tool for checking if the site can be accessed with a keyboard, Mozilla Firefox allows keyboard navigation, find, and enable, “Always use the cursor keys to navigate within pages” setting available in your Preferences panel or Settings.
Cost for developing user-friendly website for visually impaired
The average cost of developing a user-friendly website for the visually impaired may vary from $5000 to $38,000 and more.
Also, a website development cost and time depend on the business needs and a lot of factors.
Let’s check out a few:
- Project type
- Type of vendor you choose (Website Development Company, In=house specialist, or Freelancer)
- Tech stack for website development
- Location of the vendor
- Rate of vendor
- Number of features and complexity
- Number of platforms (mobile, web)
- Design complexity (custom, basic, use of 3D and animation elements)
How to hire the best app/website development company who can help you?
Well, while hiring the best mobile app or website development company, you need to consider some aspects.
Here, we will discuss what you should incorporate while hiring an app or website development company.
Before you choose a company for your website development, you should know what types of projects it has completed successfully. This way you can get to know the strength and complexity of the company. Also, you will realize whether the company would be capable enough to complete your project. A sketch of its capabilities will emerge before you.
Analyze The Expertise & Skills
The best developer is good at the latest technologies, trends, and latest versions that smoothen the business operations. So, go for the developers who have the experience and knowledge in these sectors.
Domain & Industry Specialization
Various organizations are running in a race of app development of their business. As many industries are available in this market, a developer needs to have basic knowledge about all the available industries and should know about their functionalities and the rules and regulations.
So, hire an app developer or company who may understand the needs easily and can develop an app as per the expectations.
Check the Reviews
A better app development company would be transparent enough to reveal all types of reviews it’s receiving, whether negative or positive. You can connect with their clients and enquire about their methods, work, services, and techniques.
Explore Platform Options
It may be a technical one, but the choice of a platform would rely on these two factors:
- Industry (you belongs to)
- Target audience
If you belong to a large and renowned industry, be sure you choose a platform you are experienced working with and hold the caliber to maintain the app’s quality as you want.
Mobile app development is not just about meeting the business needs with implementation and coding. It includes designing, testing, usability, and maintenance that can perform best to emerge with a successful outcome. The company needs to hold the caliber to offer a seamless user experience and run successfully ahead.
So, a developer you choose should be good enough to perform these operations better.
Post Deployment Services
Some website development companies include all the services, like upgradation, maintenance, bug fixes, app security, and more besides design and development services, but some just don’t. They ask for extra charges to accomplish these.
You should take documentation from your chosen company which should include details, such as your app features, cost estimation, module, development time, technology stack, etc.
You need to be clear while discussing the services the company would offer to you.
So, in this web-savvy world, you need to follow the best practices to make your site accessible as its basic need for every internet user, including visually impaired users.
One out of four internet users are physically disabled; here, having a site accessible to all would be beneficial for your business apart from being socially responsible.
A site accessible to all would improve your brand reputation, SEO, and enhance your user experience.
So, while developing a website or app for the visually impaired, try making it operable, perceivable, robust, and understandable. Visually impaired should find it easy to use your site without any complications and distractions.
For any accessible web or app development project Emizentech is always there to assist you. Get in touch for consultation or building a a website or app from scratch.
Frquently asked questions on user-friendly websites for visually impaired
- How do you make a website friendly for the visually impaired?
You can consider the below to develop a site accessible for visually impaired and blind users:
> Offer enough contrast into colors and textures.
> Prioritize and limit color in the interface.
> Permit manual adjustment of the font size.
> Don't depend on just color to give important information.
> Grant keyboard accessibility.
> Utilize descriptive and explicit labels for buttons and links.
> Offer alt text or description for non-text content
> Use headings for page content.
> Use descriptive titles for all pages.
- What is the best app for the visually impaired?
Some top apps that visually impaired users prefer using are:
> LookTel: The Money Identifier Mobile App
> TapTapSee: Identify Objects Through Photos
> Be My Eyes – See the world together
> Color ID Free: Discover the Names of the Colors Around You.
> KNFB Reader App: Reads Virtually Any Text Aloud.
- What tools do blind people use on the Internet?
Blind internet users use the below tools to access the web:
> Speech Recognition Software
> Braille Displays
> Screen Readers
> Special Browsers
> Screen Magnifiers
- Is there an app for people who can't read?
The KNFB, a widely known app, reads the print aloud, instantly, and accurately. You just need to take a photo of the words using your mobile device, and this app reads these prints aloud with top-quality text-to-speech through optical character recognition (OCR).
- How do I use Google Assistant for blind people?
Google Assistant can help not only blind people but every user to search everything from hotel bookings to weather, directions, and news. Even users can control the music, run reminders, timers, and more.
All they have to do is press the icon of Google Assistant and try saying that they want to search online. And this is it.
Also, the visually impaired can ask Google Assistant to read a web page out loud. They just need to say, “Hey Google,” “Read this page,” “Read it,” or “Read aloud.”