As reported by the Vision Council, 75% of people require eyesight accommodations like glasses. So, what can you do to accommodate all these people?
Among your potential customers, the majority of people have some form of vision need, from wearing glasses (or perhaps forgetting them), to trouble seeing contrast or colour, to a total loss of sight.
These different needs align with various design, product, and service considerations.
Let’s take a look at some key considerations for your website.
Considerations for blind users
Screen reader and keyboard navigation: your website, mobile application, or other software needs to have the ability to be navigated by keyboard and screen reader commands only, which requires the use of tab-key-based navigation and proper headings or landmarks on the page.
Text-first content: Your digital product and available content should not rely heavily on one mode of communication, such as images. To maximize content engagement, ensure that text is used to communicate information. Any images needed for context should have alternative image descriptions (also known as “alt tags”).
Considerations for other vision needs
Text size and zooming
People with certain vision conditions may require the text on their screen to be viewable at a larger size and zoomed in for increased visibility. Your product should accommodate a 200% zoom without compromising the appearance or requiring unintended horizontal scrolling.
Contrast is critical
Text needs to be at a high enough contrast level to ensure that even if someone is colour blind or has low visual acuity, the text is still readable and stands out from the background. For example, black text on white has the best colour contrast, and other combinations can be tested using a colour contrast checker.
Colour contrast isn’t enough
Ensuring an interface doesn’t rely on colour to create meaning or signify a change of state is critical. That’s because 1 in 12 men and 1 in 200 women are colour blind.
As an example, designing an error on a form to add an icon or symbol alongside explanatory text—not just a red outline of a form element that needs to be reviewed—helps this notice be understood by those who may be colour blind. In this case, they will be able to see the icon and take action as they otherwise may not have noticed the colour change.
This rule can be applied to your menu navigation and highlights as well, where you should include a shape change (such as an underline on a selected menu item), not just a colour change.
All of these different considerations can affect a large portion of your potential customer base. By considering these eyesight accommodations you’ll be well on your way to increasing access to and engagement with your content, products, and services.
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