The importance of visual accessibility
Most of us, including the crack journalists behind this publication, could do a better job of making our web pages and forms more visually accessible to students, trainees, employees, campers, customers, or anyone else who might need to sign up for something somewhere. It’s essential to make information within the registration software as comprehensible as possible to those with vision challenges. Otherwise, the process becomes unnecessarily difficult for a small but significant chunk of people.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention say about 3.4 million Americans over 40 are either legally blind or significantly visually impaired. An important portion of potential registrants may have trouble seeing to the point they require screen readers that turn text into speech. If, for example, important information is conveyed in a graphic like a .jpg, that reading device won’t be able to decipher it.
ABC Signup takes many steps to ensure visual accessibility. So can you. Even if a person doesn’t need a screen reader, simple steps can make it easier to navigate your pages and forms. For example, it can be difficult to read text in a rainbow of colors. Dark text on a white background is usually easiest to read. On the other end of the design spectrum, colored text on a black background could make even someone with 20/20 vision work hard to read it. Certain background images also can make it unnecessarily hard to read information.
Rather than listing all recommendations, we’re planting the idea to consider the various accessibility needs of your audience. If you want to know more, usability.gov offers a short list of best practices for web content.
In the Message Center for each event, we have added a before/after option for sending out a custom message a number of days either side of the event start date.
Insider tips: Alt Text
Resuming the theme of greater accessibility: Screen readers can’t “see” an image, but they can read the image name or alt text associated with it. If you don’t use the alt text option, the screen reader will identify the image name, which often doesn’t say much. If there was no alt text for photo above, it would read as “sign.” But the alt text says, “street sign and pedestrian crossing light,” which aids the user experience. When you insert or edit an image within the ABC Signup text editor, add alt text in the “Image Description” field like you see below.