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Websites for the Blind

Earlier today I visited my old - semi defunct Blogger account just out of curiosity. I hadn't realised the traffic I was getting. My most popular article with just over 1,000 visits was this one from 2011. I thought it would be worth re-blogging it here to a different audience. Originally Posted Here To many people living with disabilities, the internet has opened a world of possibilities and dramatically improved their access to services and information. However for those with visual impairments it still has its barriers. In the USA, The National Federation of the Blind, has recently arranged a deal with a major online travel agency to improve the level of access that people with visual impairment have to their online content. Travelocity, has undertaken make its website fully accessible to the blind, will see each web page used for searching flights, accommodation, packages, last-minute deals etcetera to blind Internet users by summer 2011. From a technical point of view, there are two different types of visual impairment that affect a person’s ability to engage with a website. Each has its own considerations and solutions. Partially-sighted - Many partially-sighted people need to enlarge text on websites. Some use screen magnifiers. Website designers need to be aware of how enlarging the text effects legibility and the effect it has on text embedded in graphics. Blind - Screen readers are used by those with blindness or extremely poor sight. The technology sifts through HTML code and deciphers what needs to be read aloud. Some blind users, particularly those that are deaf/blind, might use a refreshable Braille display machine which allows users to read the content. To develop websites for the blind that are disability friendly it is important to realise how the technology blind users employ affects website design and then rework site components such as image and link tags, form formats and even colour schemes. Much of this is covered but the W3C guidelines which disciplined web designers should adhere to, however there is also legislation in the UK in the form of the Disability and Discrimination which pertains to the design and implementation of disabled friendly web design.

Insights by Matthew Jensen

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