Visual communication is a powerful tool that businesses use to connect with their audience. But not all audiences have the same visual abilities. It is thought that between 2.5% to 3.6% 2 million people in the UK are living with some sort of visual impairment and therefore struggle to understand the visual content you put out in the world.
In this article, we’ll explore ways you or your brand can create visual content that is accessible to people with different visual disabilities.
The British Dyslexia Association estimates that around 10% of the UK population has dyslexia, although the severity can vary widely.
Dyslexia is a learning disability that affects a person’s ability to read, write, and spell. People with dyslexia often have difficulty decoding written text, which can make it challenging for them to understand visual content. You can make your visual content more accessible to people with dyslexia by using clear and easy-to-read fonts, avoiding long paragraphs, and breaking up text with headings and bullet points. You should also ensure that there is enough contrast between the background and text, so the text is easy to read.
Another way you or your brand can help people with dyslexia is by using visuals to supplement written content. Visuals, such as infographics or diagrams, can help explain complex concepts and make the content easier to understand. Avoid using flashing or moving visuals, as this can be distracting and overwhelming for people with dyslexia.
Brands can make their visual content more accessible for those with dyslexia by using clear, easy-to-read fonts, sans-serif fonts, avoiding italicised or bolded text, and breaking up text into smaller chunks with headings.
People with sight issues, such as low vision or blindness, have different needs when it comes to visual content. Brands can make their content more accessible to people with sight issues by using descriptive alt text for images and videos. Alt text is a description of the image or video that can be read by a screen reader. Brands should also use high-contrast colours and avoid using colour as the sole means of conveying information.
Brands should also consider the size of their visual content. Text and images should be large enough to be seen clearly, and video content should have subtitles or captions. Brands should also avoid using small font sizes or thin lines, as this can make the content difficult to read.
Another way brands can help people with sight issues is by using audio content. Audio content, such as podcasts or audiobooks, can be an effective way to communicate information to people who have difficulty reading or seeing visual content. Brands should also ensure that their website is accessible, by using screen reader software to check for any issues.
The percentage of the UK population with colour blindness is estimated to be around 8% for males and 0.5% for females according to Colour Blind Awareness.
Colour blindness can make it difficult for individuals to distinguish between certain colours. Brands can create visual content that is accessible for those with colour blindness by using high-contrast colours, avoiding colour-only distinctions (e.g. using colours alone to indicate a call-to-action), and providing text descriptions for visual content that relies heavily on colour.
Those with low vision may have difficulty with seeing small text or fine details. Brands can make their visual content more accessible for those with low vision by using larger font sizes, providing high-contrast text, and avoiding small details or images that may be difficult to see.
It is estimated that around 360,000 people are registered as blind or partially sighted, according to RNIB.
Individuals who are blind cannot see visual content, but they can still access information through text and audio descriptions. Brands can make their visual content more accessible for those who are blind by providing alternative text descriptions for images, using descriptive text to convey information (e.g. “a red apple” instead of just “an apple”), and providing audio descriptions for videos.
Some individuals may experience seizures or other symptoms in response to flashing or rapidly changing visual content. Brands can make their visual content more accessible for those with photosensitivity by avoiding flashing or rapidly changing visuals and providing warnings for content that may trigger a seizure.
Do coloured backgrounds to make it
easier for visual disabilities to read?
Websites can use coloured backgrounds to make it easier for some individuals with visual disabilities to read, but this may not be effective for everyone. People with certain types of visual impairments, such as colour blindness or low vision, may find it difficult to read text against a coloured background. It is important to consider a range of accessibility features and design options, such as high contrast text, large font sizes, and adjustable text spacing, to ensure that website content is accessible to the widest possible audience. Additionally, consulting with accessibility experts and incorporating user testing can help ensure that a website is as accessible as possible for people with a variety of visual disabilities.
Creating visual content that is accessible to people with different visual disabilities is essential if you want to reach a diverse audience. By using clear fonts, visuals, and high-contrast colours you can make your content more accessible to people with dyslexia and sight issues. You should also use alt text for images and videos, consider the size of your content, and use audio content to supplement visual content where possible.
By being mindful of visual disabilities and taking steps to make your visual content more accessible, you can create a more inclusive connection and welcoming experience with your audience that goes beyond visual communication.