Making the Web a Friendly Experience for Disabled Users{2}


by Cary C
The article mentions that because more American web users are rapidly approaching or have already passed the age of fifty, that it is becoming more necessary to ensure that any website that is built takes into account the people that have a visual disability.  It suggests five simple techniques for web designers to help ensure that their users have a pleasant experience.  The first is to simply make sure that the font size used in the page is large enough for the average user to see.  The second way is to ensure you have enough contrast in the site in general.  Thirdly, you will need to consider that approximately eight percent of people have some form of color blindness and that needs to be taken into account.  The fourth technique is to allow users to browse the mobile version of your site from their desktops.  The mobile versions of websites tend to be more visually involved with graphics as opposed to text.  The last technique suggested is to encourage the use of keyboard shortcuts to assist the users.

 

I like this article because I know more and more people whose eye site is starting to go, and frankly I am one of them.  I think it is important for web designers to take consider people such as myself and some of my family members that have difficulty reading smaller fonts.  I know my father is colorblind concerning certain colors, and he has had some difficulty in the past navigating websites.  I think it is important to consider people with disabilities when you build a website because it frankly is not that difficult to do.  Also, by doing so, you can potentially reach out to more consumers/customers that your competitors might be ignoring.  Lastly, I would say it is important to consider people with disabilities when building a site because it is frankly the right thing to do.

 

Last quarter, I was in a class where we were slightly exposed to designing and developing websites.  The professor was very adamant about us making sure that whatever we created was able to successfully pass certain accessibility tests for people with visual problems.  The biggest one we needed to focus on was the color blind test.  Our professor also brought in a person who has been blind from birth, and she did a demonstration for us on the product that she currently uses which was basically a narrating program.  Although the program was rather expensive, she said that it has made a world of difference in her life because she is able to use a computer successfully and the program can always tell her where she is on a page and it also has the ability to read to her what is displayed on the page.  For example, she can go to a news site and the program will start scrolling though the headlines and she can choose what she wants to have read to her.  From what she told us, Microsoft is currently working on imbedding similar software into one of its future upcoming operating systems.  Microsoft is doing this because it has recognized that the baby-boomers are starting to have difficulty seeing, and because it recognizes the empowerment that can be given to people by allowing them to use a computer, connect to other people over the web, and learn through the Internet.

 

 

Reference:

Shaver, K. (2011, April 20th). 5 Ways to Ensure Your Site is Accessible to the Visually Impaired. Mashable Tech. Retrieved from http://mashable.com/2011/04/20/design-for-visually-impaired/.