Monday, February 3, 2014

Writing for the Visually Impaired

By Laurie Epps

Something we often don't think about is our entire audience online. If we include a video, the reader may not be able to hear. In this column, we're going to talk about those who can't properly see our website or blog.

When you begin to think about this, I want you to also consider that most of us will have some deterioration in our vision as we get older. Others suffer from color blindness, or perhaps our readers are terribly near or far-sighted. 


Bravely, our author, Edie Melson, tackles this issue head on. We'll continue with our book, 
Connections: Social Media and Networking Techniques for Writers.

When dealing with color blindness, check out this site: 
http://www.checkmycolours.com

It'll help you figure out if you're blog is hard with readability due to green & red confusion, or the occasional yellow & blue confusion.

Having a friendly site to completely blind readers takes a little effort on your part, but it's well worth it to reach this part of your audience.

Here's some helpful tips to reach your visually challenged readers:

  • Labels make life easier. Use labels or captions for every image. Don't rely on color alone to convey the information.
  • Use headers & introductory sentences for your paragraphs. Many readers for the visually impaired have a scanning option. This will help you grab attention to your site.
  • Make link destinations clear within the text. This is a great idea generally anyway. These hyperlinks will also raise your blogs SEO. (Search Engine Optimization)
  • Check your font size. In Blogger, you can adjust your size to smallest, small, normal, large, and largest. In TypePad or Wordpress, it will allow you to change font size from the posting window. Double check that your blog can be read from three feet away.
  • Skip the Word Verification for comments whenever possible. Depending on your platform this might not be an option. A common misconception is that this tool will stop spammers and it won't.
At the Blue Ridge Christian Writers conference, I met an amazing woman named Jamie Britt. Jamie is also a blind writer. As I wrote this blog, I couldn't help but think of her. Wouldn't I want my thoughts and ideas to reach her too? The answer is a resounding: Absolutely. I want to reach all of my public.

If you'd like to learn more about Jamie, you can visit her blog. Her column is like baked cookies on a bad day after school. Every one of her posts has some encouraging words, and I read it regularly. To check her out, click here.

I hope to have Jamie look at my blog in the near future, and tell me what things I need to fix on my own blog, and share her findings with all of you too.

Can't get enough social media? Check out Edie's Social Media Monday's column at: http://thewriteconversation.blogspot.com

Next week, join us to begin talking about fostering relationships online.

Laurie Epps is a senior at Anderson University majoring in Creative Writing. Already Laurie is most published as a feature article writer, essayist, and poet. A seeker of beauty and world traveler, Laurie hopes to grow into a career in travel writing illuminating the many stories that make us human despite our differences. Currently, Laurie also has a Thoughtful Thursday column dedicated to the fine art of poetry.



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