How to Make Web Content Accessible to the Visually Impaired
For any website to be considered friendly by all groups of people then the content created and the web pages should be accessible by everyone including the visually impaired. When a website is accessible by everyone, then the content on the site will attract more engagement and interactions by the users.
Therefore when designing a website or adding web pages and content for the site you should consider making them accessible to the blind to. The following are tips to help you make a site accessible to the visually impaired…
Formatting Website for Screen Reader.
Visually impaired people usually use screen readers to read content on the website. A screen reader has the ability to either interpret the web content and translate it through a Braille device or can synthesize the content and have it read aloud to the users.
The content on your website should thus be organized and formatted in a manner that creates a logical flow to the screen reader and hence the user can easily discern the content and its usefulness.
There are several ways to do this and they include…
1) Avoiding content clutter.
Contents on a web page should be properly arranged in a logical manner and organized in a way that is clear and not cluttered here and there. This enables a screen reader to interpret the content step by step without missing anything.
2) Use descriptive link names.
Links on a web pages indicate other pages or websites which can be used as a resource for more information and knowledge and thus should be well described so that the visually impaired can know what the links are all about. The use of vague link names such as ‘click here’ should be avoided.
3) Use correct grammar syntax and punctuation.
Since screen readers may be programmed to synthesize the text to voice information, then it’s vital that the correct grammatical rules are followed so that the voice output can make sense and be understandable to the visually impaired user.
4) Use a simple layout.
There are webmasters who may prefer to arrange information in some unique formats such as using borderless tables especially during comparison of two distinct things but this may result to an illogical order of reading when a screen reader is used. Therefore it’s vital to use a simple layout except in cases when it’s really critical to use a given format.
5)Use logical web text.
There are some people whose visual impairment is not blindness and can see a little bit or use magnifiers for reading; others have problems of color blindness. Therefore when creating content for web pages ensure that the font size is clear and enlarged for such people to read with minimal problems.
Also, the text used within a graphic such as buttons should have text which is clearly visible.
6) Use correct tags for headers.
Headers should be correctly tagged using H2 tags and other tags where necessary so that a screen reader can be able to differentiate and communicate such information to the user.