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24 May 2021

5 Common Website Problems Experienced by Visually Impaired People According to accessiBe

Post by Jordan Toplen

Trying to make your website more accessible? This can be a tricky task if you’re not prepared. The amount of research required to pull it off properly can be surprising, and the field keeps evolving actively as well. If you’re not sure where to start, look into tackling some of the most commonly experienced issues among people with visual impairments, according to accessiBe. The list is far from exhaustive, but it’s a good start. 

Keyboard Navigation

Many people rely on screen readers and keyboard navigation to find their way around websites. This functionality can break very easily if your site is not specifically optimized for it. Unusual layouts can look nice on the surface, but they can sometimes turn into a nightmare for navigation. If you’re not sure, just stick with tried and proven layout schemes. If you want to think outside the box for the way your website looks, make sure to test it extensively with screen readers.

Colors

Colors are another topic that requires a lot of attention, and they can be easy to mess up if you don’t know what you’re doing. It’s not just about finding a visually pleasing color palette; you have to also ensure that you’re not creating any problems for people with color blindness. Certain design elements may become unusable to someone with specific types of color blindness. And you would never know, because it looks fine to you. Tools like accessiBe can help you investigate your website from a different perspective. 

Embedded Content

Another example of something that can make your site look and feel nicer to people without disabilities, but can wreak havoc on the experience of others. Embedded content should be treated very carefully. Things like PDFs and videos can cause serious problems with accessibility tools like screen readers. They can also be visually unintuitive for people with impairments. This one is more difficult to verify and control, so the best approach is to just be more conservative with the use of such elements in the first place.

Dynamic Features

The same goes for things like JavaScript and other dynamic elements that can change the site’s layout on the go. While they can look pretty, and can even improve the basic functionality of your site, they can also be difficult to work with for screen readers. Your site shouldn’t need such elements to function in the first place in most cases, so think carefully about whether you need them or not.

Link Text

Last but not least, pay special attention to how you’re formatting and labeling your links. Link text should always be as clear and descriptive as possible. Use alt descriptions to further improve things as well. Just because something looks intuitive to you, doesn’t mean that it will look the same to someone browsing your site with the help of accessibility tools.

It can take some time to get all of these points sorted out, but it will be more than worthwhile in the long run. Making your site as accessible as possible to people with disabilities is more important than ever before. 

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