How do Blind People Use the Web – accessiBe
The Web provides the blind with many services to improve their lives, but many websites are still not accessible. In this article, we will explain several ways to make your website more accessible for blind users using tips from professionals like accessiBe.
Why you should care about making your website accessible for the visually impaired
Many websites make it difficult or even impossible to use for blind people on the Web. For example, some sites do not provide any textual information and rely completely on graphics and images, making them illegible with text-to-speech software (screen readers). Other sites put their buttons, links, and menu commands in places where they cannot be seen with a screen reader.
Despite the promises from some companies that their websites are accessible for the blind, in practice, they usually forget to add descriptions for pictures and buttons or test them with a screen reader. According to research by Microsoft, about 80% of all tested websites have simple mistakes that prevent the blind from accessing them.
The consequences of ignoring blind users are severe. According to a study in the United States, about 5% of the population is visually impaired for one reason or another, which means that roughly 12 million people cannot use your website without significant difficulties. That’s pretty bad when you consider that these 12 million people are your potential customers because it’s likely that many of them are active online shoppers.
What can blind people do with your website?
There are several ways to consider the needs of blind users when designing or modifying your website, and in most cases, they don’t have to cost you anything, but they will improve your SEO.
Things to check when you are designing your website:
- Make sure that the text on your website is easy to read – there’s no need to use all capitals, banners, or flashing effects.
- Avoid graphics with few text alternatives.
- Remember that every image should have an alt attribute.
- Use h1 and h2 headings correctly to help blind users navigate your pages.
- Make sure that your links are descriptive enough.
- Do not use tables if you don’t need them because they make the page harder to read for blind people.
Tips from experts in the field on designing an accessible site
It is better to prevent than repair, and the same goes for making your website accessible for blind users. You can start by reading these guidelines from W3C about how to make websites more accessible, and then come back here to see what we have learned from talking with members of our community:
- Don’t use backgrounds with text or images because they make it difficult for blind visitors to see your content.
- Make it easy for users to find your main content and skip sidebars and advertisements.
- Use semantic markup instead of table markup, including headings (h1, h2, etc.), paragraphs (p), lists (ul and ol), and so on.
- Make sure you have good contrast between your text and its background.
- Add a skip navigation link to provide a quick way for visitors to get from the start of the page to the main content.