The Blogchatter Half-Marathon has ten commandments, of which the ninth is:
Thou Shalt Design for Accessibility
As a graphic designer, a web designer, game designer and as bloggers, it is your duty to make sure that your digital work is accessible. It should be accessible to people with special needs, young, old, different cultures, languages, and countries. Words, photos and designs need to be seen, heard and experienced by all.
As graphic designers and web designers, it makes good business sense to be accessible to everyone. In fact, there are certain criteria Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) that you need to meet for a good accessibility score.
As a blogger you can do some things, go the extra mile to make your website accessible for everyone. They are simple and do not require a lot of expense to do. Once I tell you what they are you may wonder why you didn’t think of it before!
Use high color contrast in your blog. There are readers with poor eye sight who find it difficult to differentiate between letters and background if they are too closely matching each other. For example, using light grey text with a grey background would make it difficult for a person with poor vision. They may not have a reader to help them out. If you use good contrasting colors, you are helping.
I have been guilty of using colored fonts in my earlier blog posts. If you look at some of my earlier ones, they are all sorts of colors. I was high on fanciness! Now I understand that plain black letters on a light background are helpful and stick to it. Many of you may already be using black text on white or light background – good for you! And vice versa, do check if a dark background with light text is readable – does it hurt the eyes or does it prevent some of your visually impaired readers from enjoying your beautiful work?!
Remember not everyone uses a high-end monitor and there are some of us who enjoy sitting outside while looking at our screens. In such settings it definitely does not help if the color contrasts are poor. You don’t want someone to skip reading your blog just because of the poor readability of the text.
When using colors to explain a concept, make sure to use text also so the visually impaired can follow. Individuals with poor vision, color blindness and severe visual impairment will appreciate this. Grey scale is often difficult for someone with visual needs to read. Different colors have different meanings around the world, so do explain the colors you use in an illustration or diagram.
Wondered what it means when your photo has ‘Alt text’? Simply put, alt text is the box where you type out text describing the photo. Be generous and do describe it exactly for those with visual problems. But keep it short. A visual reader will read the description you have provided to the visual impaired person.
In the above photo you could describe the photo as “A desk” or you could say “a desk with a keyboard, two paperclips, and three pens on it.” – which of these descriptions is more helpful to you think? There is no need to add “A photo of…” or “a diagram of…” just describe it.
It is also helpful if you add text under the photo as a caption explaining the diagram/photo or provide a link with further descriptions. By providing this kind accessibility, you let your reader see, hear and truly experience your work.
By adding a translate widget your website can become accessible to a whole new audience. On my WordPress website I have now added the ‘Google Translate’ widget. Because of which anyone can use Google translate to conveniently translate it to their favoured language. Why didn’t I think of this earlier? My bad!
I have been part of a few blogging campaigns and always regretted not being able to read the ones in Hindi (I can read small sentences but am lost when it comes to deeper writing!), because the webpage didn’t allow for the translation. A wise blogger has provided this accessibility otherwise I would have missed a lovely write up!
When we add an audio file, you are helping a visually impaired person but at the same time the hearing-impaired reader cannot follow. Along with your audio do think of adding an adequate description of the audio for this special-needs individual.
We all love the cursive writing fonts, don’t we? Its so fancy and we feel so good looking at it. Sometimes wedding invitations, brochures and pamphlets come in fancy cursive fonts. Right royal they are! But look closely at it, some fonts are just not easy to read. By all means be fancy, but do select one that is readable! One trick I’ve learned is to increase space between letters and line space which sometimes helps in making a fancy font I really like, more readable and acceptable. But there have been times I have discarded a font because it is not easily readable.
I have given you a few easy accessibility points that you can start implementing right away. Let’s get everyone to enjoy, see, read, hear and experience your view point. Do you have more suggestion? I would love to hear them in the comments below.
This blog post is part of the Blogchatter Half Marathon