Supporting people online with a vision impairment
This includes people who are registered blind and partially sighted, plus all the other people whose sight problems have a substantial impact on their daily activities.
The five leading causes of sight loss are refractive error, age-related macular degeneration, cataract, glaucoma and diabetic retinopathy.
And research shows that having sight loss can often lead to people facing barriers that prevent them from carrying out their daily activities.
People with sight loss face barriers online
For example, back in 2016, the Click-Away Pound Survey found more than six million people with disabilities (including sight loss) in the UK had difficulty using online shops and services.
For a variety of reasons, people may not be able to use a mouse, or read the words, or find their way around a busy screen.
- 71% of those people simply left a site that they found hard to use - 4.2 million lost customers
- For 81% of this group, ease of use was more important than price
- £11.75 billion was spent by consumers in 2016 at sites that were easier to use
This evidence shows that people with sight loss can find it difficult to do things many other people do online unhindered.
Whether that’s buying groceries, ordering a pizza, booking cinema tickets, looking at a train time table or buying a parking permit.
With the results of the latest Click-Away Pound Survey due in December 2019, it will be interesting to see what has changed.
Inclusive design and assistive tech
All organisations can make their websites accessible for people with sight loss by following the principles of the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG 2.1).
Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) 2.1 covers a wide range of recommendations for making Web content more accessible.
This includes ensuring all web pages are easily navigable for people who use screen reader devices, such as having correctly labelled forms and images (aka alt tags/alt text).
You can also add assistive technology like Recite Me’s assistive toolbar to a website to offer an enhanced layer of accessibility.
People with sight loss can use Recite Me to opt have text read aloud to them (aka text to speech) in over 40 different languages including English.
They can also use it to increase the font size and the space between lines of text, select a plain text only view, zoom (aka magnify) and use a screen mask plus a ruler to help focus on a specific area of a web page.
Recite Me also lets users choose the font colour and background colour to help make text as easy as possible to read.
Martin Lea, Recite Me Sales Executive, has a visual impairment. He said:
“I became visually impaired in my mid-forties having acquired a condition that permanently damaged the macular in my right. The range of styling features on the Recite Me assistive toolbar massively support my content reading. Mostly the font size increase button and the colour, contrast, and font options.
“All websites have their own styles but there seems to be a trend of using dark grey text on a light grey background which can be frustrating. Recite allows me to apply 'MY' preferred colours and font, to facilitate reading content. Reading paragraphs with essentially just my left eye means it's easy to lose my place in a long paragraph. The ruler keeps me in the right place on-page.”
Ensuring websites are accessible is also a legal requirement and we hope that WSD 2019 encourages more organisations to make sure that people with sight loss and blindness can access their websites to do what they need to do.
100’s of organisations already use Recite Me to make their websites more accessible for people with conditions like sight loss…Find out more or book your free trial now.