Not everyone is born with the gift of 20/20 eyesight. Some cannot see at all. The visually impaired are marginalized, and unfortunately, the impaired are rarely the target niche for any business. However, it would serve businesses, large and small alike, well to realize that there are an estimated 21.2 million adults in the United States, who have trouble seeing, even with the help of contact lenses or glasses, with some of these adults also completely blind.
A small business can take advantage of these statistics and include the visually impaired as part of their target niche. All you need to do is hire a web design company to optimize your website to make it suitable for those with both perfect vision and those that have trouble seeing. Since it’s not exactly easy to put Braille up on a computer screen, here are my tips on how a business can optimize its website with ease.
Larger Is Better
Now this may not be true for all things, but it’s definitely true when it comes to visually impaired friendly websites. Some people have trouble seeing the font due to its size. By making text and even images a bit bigger than usual, seeing and using use that site becomes a whole lot easier. However, sometimes, making the text and image bigger may make the site design lose its integrity. It may end looking messy or outstretched, driving away one’s normal customers.
When you hire a web design company, make sure you state specifically what you’re looking for on your site. You can even make an alternate site specifically created for the visually impaired and link up to it on your main site for others to click into. Consider the size of the page, and match larger text and images to fit it.
Stay Away From Dark Color Combinations
Using color combinations within the normal 216 browser-safe ones will go a long way for someone who can’t see well. This means playing with the hue and saturation, and sticking to lighter tones. Lighter tones are much easier to see and read. According to this article, lighter tones on text against a dark background help them view things better. Using two colors of similar lightness together can make things annoying for those with color-deficit conditions. Also, making sure that your layout is clean, and not cluttered with unnecessary graphics helps a lot.
Use Media and Audio
Who doesn’t enjoy a little music in their day? Using audio and media on your website can really help out those who are visually impaired. Instead of making the whole website one big block of text, add a video that says pretty much everything the text does so site visitors can listen rather than read. Or even make the site reader compatible, which allows the computer to read the text on a website. A web design company could also take it a bit further and have a Siri-like audio accompaniment to a website. This will start recounting the words on screen. Adding key functions can help those who can’t see as well pause the audio, rewind, and even move between pages on your website. For those who can see just fine, a Mute button should be provided.
The use of media also gets the message across in a way in which it will be more easily recalled. According to the Learning theories in Psychology, people tend to remember things that they have heard or viewed better over what they have read; therefore the message will be much more easily memorable for everyone across the board.
There are many more areas in which a web design company could work to make your website more visually-impaired friendly. This may not be an easy task at first, and maybe not every other company is doing it either, but it will certainly be worth it for both your business and customer base in the long run. The visually impaired have the same desires and interests the rest of us do and it’s time the web design matched their needs too.
Author Bio: This article was written by Calvin Troise, on behalf of DBurns Design, a web design company that designs websites accessible to all.