Make your website accessible to the visually challenged
- June 25, 2020
- 4 minutes
The internet is mainly visual in essence. Pictures, videos and other visual elements are playing an increasingly important role. That does not make things any easier for the visually challenged. They regularly have problems with access to services and information offered. This concerns a large group of people who cannot participate fully. It is therefore important that this changes. How can we make it easier for them? Make your website accessible to the visually challenged!
Various types of visual challenge
There are a huge number of people with a visual challenges worldwide. WHO shares the following estimates:
- There are approximately 285 million people with visual challenges worldwide.
- Of these, 246 million people are partially sighted and 39 million are blind.
- This means that 86% of people with a visual challenge are partially sighted.
Visually challenged is common for the elderly and is often caused by eye diseases and health conditions. Think of cataracts, glaucoma, macular degeneration and diabetes.
There are many different types of visual challenge:
- Low visual acuity
- Sensitivity to light
- Problems seeing contrast
- Limited field of view
- Color blindness
The main problem with making the web accessible to the visually challenged is that there are so many different forms of visual challenge. The needs vary widely and also conflict regularly.
For example, an older, visually challenged user may need a lot of contrast. However, this produces an unreadable website for a user who is photosensitive.
Someone with good visual acuity and tunnel vision benefits from a relatively small magnification, so that he can see more words at once and not lose the overview. A partially sighted person with low visual acuity needs large letters to read.
In addition, one person may have different needs at different times. A person’s vision does not have to be constant. For example, fatigue can lead to reduced vision.
There is no one-fit-all solution
It is impossible to draft a guideline that works for everyone.
This is not only because each condition requires different adjustments, the circumstances also play a role. Think of the complexity of the text, the external lighting conditions, how familiar the user is with the text and how the user feels at that moment.
The user needs his own settings, which he can adjust to his wishes at any time. One of the tools that visually challenged people use a lot is magnification software. Although this software is getting better at websites and offers many setting options, there are still many problems:
- The software is complex to use
- It does not work or only partially works with certain browsers
- You are bound by certain operating systems
- The software costs money and needs to be updated
And perhaps most importantly, the software does not familiar with the website for which it is used. Which part of the website should be enlarged? And if you enlarge that part, what kind of information are you missing?
Moreover, there is something strange going on. When it comes to accessibility, it is often said that it is important to test your website with a screen reader. However, it is almost never about magnification software. While we have just seen that 86% of people are partially sighted and not blind. Visually challenged people use magnification software more often than a screen reader. Because this is often overlooked, many websites do not work optimally with magnification software.
The solution: give the user a choice
Enlargement software is therefore not the ideal solution. But what then? We have developed Aally to solve this problem, among other things. With Aally you create alternative pages that the user can fully customize to his needs. For example, the user chooses the appropriate font, the correct font size and the perfect contrast. Or he can have a long text read aloud. Moreover, Aally is fully equipped on your website. The information on your website is displayed in a well-structured manner, so that the user does not lose the overview and therefore does not miss any information.
Curious about how Aally works? Request a demo without obligation. We would love to show you! Make your website accessible to the visually challenged!