Blindness Accessibility

 By this point we have all experienced some form of Braille. Braille is the physical form of type designed for individuals who are visually impaired. However braille is fairly physical and not particularly useful when navigating the web or some other visual input medium. In this article we will be exploring the different types of type that’s accessible for blindness.  

brail alphabet
Braille alphabet with tactile lettering (image source:  Wikihow )

Braille – originally designed by Louis Braille (blind himself), he experimented with tactile codes after learning about a raised-dot-system used by the French army to communicate at night. He designed the braille cell, each dot/combination of dots to represent a letter, number, or character. Together they can be used to communicate.


Screen Readers – although not a typographic method, but a useful tool for allowing users to navigate through web content. The reader is able to analyze text and display it audibly using text to speech, however it is without limitations. The main limitation to screen readers is the limited accessibility to process images. Web designers must provide an “alternative text” to make the webpage accessible for the reader.  

Many users who are visually impaired do not use a mouse and rely on the keyboard as the primary means of navigating the web.  

People who are blind tend to face many barriers of web given content. The most common barrier include:

  • Visual content (images or videos with no text alternative)
  • Elements or buttons that cannot be navigated with a keyboard
  • Large amount of content
  • Non-consistent structured information/content.
  • Time limited tasks

Low Vision

Impaired vision or low vision refers to someone who has partial vision in either one eyes or both eyes. This can refer to someone who is legally blind (who requires vision correction aids like glasses)

Individuals with low vision are able to see web content but only if its magnified making the content visible The most common barriers for low vision include:

chart displaying blindess
Contrasting colors for color contrast (source image: Ryerson University Accessabilty)
  • Inconsistent navigation due to sizing
  • If digital content has low contrast (unable to distinguish elements)
  • Image of text or images that turn pixelated when zoomed in.

For font legibility always use the highest contrast if possible. This way the quality of print produced does not become an obstacle.


Citations:

“Braille.” CNIB, cnib.ca/en/sight-loss-info/living-blindness/braille?region=onhttps%3A%2F%2Fwebaim.org%2Farticles%2Fvisual%2Fblind.

Gay, Greg, et al. “Types of Disabilities and Barriers.” Web Accessibility for Developers, The Chang School, Ryerson University, 29 Nov. 2019, pressbooks.library.ryerson.ca/wafd/chapter/types-of-disabilities-and-barriers.