Of course you want your website to engage its audience, but what if some of your audience members are color-blind or completely blind? Color-blind individuals inherit partial or total impairment in seeing colors. This affects about eight percent of the population, most of them being males. Color-blind individuals need contrast in color and blind web surfers use tools such as screen readers which identify text on a page and read the information aloud. Preparing your website for everyone, including the visually impaired, is a great way to maximize outreach and increase the search importance of your website.
The ability of website design to apply to all users is referred to as accessibility. Accessible design prevents colors from running together and text from getting fuzzy. As a designer, all you may know initially is that red and green are common color impairments for the color-blind, and fonts should remain somewhat large and readable. How do you understand exactly what your visually impaired users see?
Web design color cards map out colors and how color-blind individuals perceive them. This can help in some ways, but it’s also important to create high contrast between any colors that may be stacked. Colors of similar shades can run together, and people may confuse them as one entity. For the blind, many use mainstream browsers such as Explorer to engage with their screen readers. Make sure your website is available to these browsers as opposed to only best viewed in a less mainstream choice.
Many different internet tools provide designers the resources to adhere to accessible design. The Accessibility Color Wheel, for example, helps designers select background and font colors to keep them from blurring together when viewed. The Firefox Accessibility Extension is a toolbar enabling designers to view all aspects of a web page and whether or not they apply to accessible design standards. aDesigner created by IBM, translates the impaired user’s experience to the designer with reports on how to improve compliance to accessible design.
Everyone can surf the web and retrieve information; however, not everyone is capable in the same manner. Creating a website for the whole population improves SEO (Search Engine Optimization) making it more readable to search engine robots. Contact us at The Net Impact for more information on accessible web design and how to apply it to your website.