That’s about 1 person in every 30.
It’s a sizeable chunk of the people visiting the websites you design for your clients.
Many elderly people not included in the above statistics also have failing sight yet are a fast increasing demographic when it comes to internet usage.
Unfortunately, many business owners and designers forget these important customers when they construct and design websites.
As an intelligent and aware web designer it’s your job to highlight these issues to existing and potential clients. One great way to do this is via your blog section.
When a prospect is scanning your website looking to see if you’re an expert in your craft, a well written blog article on design considerations for the visually impaired will highlight your knowledge and skills. It might also be exactly what they’re looking to read if they’re in an industry catering to the partially sighted.
Such businesses might include hospitals, cruise holiday sites, in-home care services, stores that sell products for the elderly, opticians, solicitors and many more.
What will these business owners or their marketing departments be looking to read in regards to web design for their visually impaired readers?
What can you write about to attract such clients?
The following are some ideas. Each one can be used as a blog post in itself or all of them together can form one in-depth article.
1. How do visually impaired people experience the web differently? Cover some of the difficulties the partially sighted come across when navigating websites. Touch on troubling design aspects business owners might not have considered and which, if modified even just slightly, would benefit a wider audience.
2. How can web copy and design be combined to create the best user experience for the visually impaired? Explore how typography can be used as the main design feature which might help the hard of sight whilst still looking attractive to everyone else. How can copywriters help? What other options are there?
3. Which businesses would benefit from extra website accessibility for the partially sighted? I’ve already listed a few industries above but you’re sure to know more. List them together with the possibilities for each one. Detail previous projects where clear navigation and design have been of extra importance in relation to the particular target audience.
4. How can different screen sizes hinder design elements for the partially sighted? Do people with sight problems actually use tablets and iphones? Look for some research on the subject and reveal the findings. If they do then share some ideas on how businesses can help the visually impaired when it comes to smaller screens.
5. How can custom drop-down menus, modals, tooltips, accordion content and dynamic errors and notifications be modified for the visually impaired? Cover some of the commonplace website features that people take for granted which actually make life doubly difficult for the partially sighted. What can be used instead?
6. Connect with a partially sighted person and invite them for an interview. This can be in the form of a podcast, video or email exchange. Ask them about their experiences when navigating the internet. What are the common problems they face? How do they think things can be improved? Which websites do they find most accessible? What’s their advice for businesses and web designers?
7. Go through each page on a typical business website and detail the various design features needed for the visually impaired reader. Pages will include the homepage, about page, services pages, product pages, contact page and testimonial/review pages, plus more. You can also cover videos, infographics, pdf documents, slideshows and downloadable features. Provide examples.
8. Explore how local businesses have adapted their real-world premises, exhibitions, marketing materials and other features to help the partially sighted. Write about them and use the modifications as inspiration for web design possibilities. Covering regional topics will attract regional prospects.
Some of these ideas can be written up immediately whilst others will require some research and planning. Interviews with relevant people are an underutilised tool businesses neglect which can be extremely popular with readers.
Remember to focus on what a potential client will need or want to know rather than what will interest you. Also, you’re writing for people with little knowledge of web design so reduce the terminology you might use with other designers. Keep things clear and simple.
All this will show you’re an expert in your field with knowledge of the wider picture and deeper understanding of issues facing clients/customers. Together with your portfolio and testimonials, blog posts or articles of this nature will make you look very good indeed.
Creative Commons image attribution: Eye from Stiller Beobachter