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Is Your Website Accessible to the Visually Impaired User?

By September 24, 2020January 18th, 2021ACCESSIBILITY NEWS, WEBSITE ACCESSIBILITY
Visually impaired girl on computer

According to the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), website content should have a reasonable amount of accessibility for users who are blind or have low vision such as voice command options or screen reading and other assistive technologies that exist to accommodate users with disabilities.

Providing online accessibility to users who are blind or have low vision empowers them with some of the most important and powerful tools a person can have: information and education.

Website Accessibility for the Visually Impaired User

Findings from the 2017 National Health Interview Survey (“NHIS”) data release established that an estimated 26.9 million adult Americans (or about 10% of all adult Americans) reported they either “have trouble” seeing, even when wearing glasses or contact lenses, or that they are blind or unable to see at all.”

The National Institutes of Health (“NIH”) reported, “with the youngest of the baby boomers hitting 65 by 2029, the number of people with visual impairment or blindness in the United States is expected to double by 2050.”

Access to healthcare information must be made available to all populations and minority groups including the disabled. Individuals who are blind or have low vision need to be able to make adjustments to the content on websites in order to access the information they need. This is especially important during COVID-19 for the elderly who are blind or have low vision to have access to the vital and ever-changing information related to the pandemic.

According to the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) Web Accessibility Initiative (WAI) “People with visual disabilities typically rely on changing the presentation of web content into forms that are more usable for their particular needs.”

Some examples of this include:

  • Enlarging or reducing text size and images
  • Customizing settings for fonts, colors, and spacing
  • Listening to text-to-speech synthesis of the content
  • Listening to audio descriptions of video in multimedia
  • Reading text using refreshable braille

Solutions for Improving Website Accessibility

There are varying degrees of website accessibility and compliance with ADA and WCAG recommendations. Healthcare organizations serve millions of patients with disabilities. The ability to access important health information during a national public emergency is something all users should have. Some solutions which improve your website accessibility are quick to implement but provide low-quality results that do not serve your patients.

Higher-end solution providers will conduct a thorough audit of your healthcare organization’s website, explain the audit findings and work with your development team to implement greater website accessibility, usability, and compliance to ADA and WCAG guidelines. Being able to better serve visually or otherwise impaired patients is the goal of all healthcare facilities. Providing patients with disabilities the best access to vital health information online is one way to do this.

T-Base provides website accessibility audits and assistance to ensure your website and mobile apps are fully accessible for users with disabilities, and that your website is compliant with WCAG 2.0/2.1 AA (the international standard for web accessibility), the ADA, and Section 508. Having an accessible website empowers users who are blind or have low vision with vital and up to date information. At a time when access to constantly changing healthcare information is key to staying healthy and safe, healthcare institutions must make accessibility and compliance a priority. T-Base can help you do this today!

Jeff Jullion

Jeff Jullion

Manager of Education Accessibility Communications  at T-Base Communications Inc.