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Pattern Group B. Creating a Navigation F... > People with Visual Disabilities Use ...

People with Visual Disabilities Use the Web

This segment of the population includes people who are blind, have impaired vision, or have color deficiencies. The relevant issues are basic readability of text and links. Here are some tips for ensuring the readability of your Web site for people with visual disabilities:

  • Provide sufficient contrast between the text and the background. Use either dark text on a light background or light text on a dark background. Also avoid complex background patterns because they can make reading text extremely difficult. Use simple patterns or solid background colors instead.

  • Use a sufficiently large font. Cramming in more information by shrinking the font merely forces customers to move closer to the monitor and squint. Web browsers have a default font size, and people with visual disabilities often increase this default size, so if you use relative font sizes, the text will usually be the right size. Make sure that your page layout still looks right when the font sizes change.

  • Avoid using ALL CAPS for text because the letter forms of capitals are more difficult to read. It is OK to use this technique sparingly to bring attention to something, such as “NEW” features or a “SALE.” Capitalizing whole words is a good way of bringing attention, but doing it excessively can slow down reading.

  • Avoid animations and blinking text. These kinds of distractions can make reading difficult.

  • Avoid creating text that runs all the way from the left of the page to the right. This format makes it difficult for people's eyes to pick up the start of the next line. It also makes the text feel tight, as if it were being crammed in. A little white space on both sides of a Web page will make text easier to read. Using a FIXED-WIDTH SCREEN SIZE (I5) will help you easily achieve this effect.

  • Stay away from link color combinations that people with color deficiencies will not be able to differentiate. In particular, avoid green for unvisited links and red for visited links because those colors are hard for people with red–green color deficiency to distinguish.



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