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4 Easy Ways to Accommodate the Visually Impaired

A hand holding a black phone and online shopping.

Web accessibility is an essential part of inclusivity and equal opportunity.  The Internet is an opportunity for unprecedented access to information from all across the globe. 

So what does it mean to accommodate someone with visual impairments? Visual impairments don't always mean blindness; no two people are alike, but it's essential to assist as many people as possible. 


1. Be conscious of your font choice

Is the font on your website or blog hard to read? Try to keep things simple by selecting a font that is easy on the eyes. This means choosing a simple font like Times New Roman or Helvetica can do wonders for your visitors. These fonts may be old school, but they are just suggestions! The below graphic is an example of some extreme differences, but the basic concepts remain the same.

Photo of the extreme differences in font choices.

(Source: Meadow Advertising)

If these fonts don't work with the look with the rest of your website, feel free to choose something else. The secret? Choosing something that you KNOW will work for everyone. As for font size? Try to keep it at 18pt. 


2. Pay Attention to the Color Contrast on Your Website

Why is color contrast important? Approximately 1 in 8 people are partially or fully color blind. Color contrast can be tricky, but don't fret. There are TONS of tools out there to test different color combinations.

Graphic that shows the principles of color contrast.

(Source: Website Magazine)

We're confident you'll find something that will work for you. Check out this tool from ColorSafe that will help you choose your compliant colors.


3. Text Overlaid on a Background Image

We've all seen it: an image that has a text overlay that makes it hard to read. It's hard on the eyes for us, but can you imagine what it's like when someone has a visual impairment? No worries though, because this one is an easy fix.

The below image has white text on a photo background. Even if we changed the text to black, it would still be hard to read.

Photo of model with white text overlaid. The text is hard to read.


In the below image, we put a very thin overlay on the image before placing the text. See how much it improves readability? It's like magic.

Graphic of model with dark overlay with white text. The text is easy to read.


4.  Color Filters for Your Online Store

In the example below, the online store is offering 2 different colors of shirts. One is black, and one is a light blue. But if you are color blind or rely on visual cues, how do you know?

Screenshot of an online store that uses colors and no accompanying text.

(Source: Shopify.com)

If you have an online store, always make sure to include a color description in addition to your color selection. 

In this example, the online store gives you the color name in addition to the swatch to choose from.

Image of an online store that uses both colors and accompanying text in their online store.

It's the little things, you know?

Conclusion

This article doesn't cover all the different ways you need to accommodate those with visual impairments, but it does cover some critical bases. Remember, your website is meant to look and feel good to EVERYONE who visits. Taking these baby steps are important, not just for you, but for your website's visitors as well.

For additional information on increasing your web traffic by ensuring that your business is accessible, contact CommonAccess today.

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