Glasses set on top of a map.

Day 51: Users with Low Vision

Continuing on through the WAS Body of Knowledge, I’m currently working through concepts that involve building websites that accommodate strategies used by people with disabilities. Today I focused on those with low vision. I’m personally familiar with the group the most, and yet the strategies that people with low vision use to access web content can vary greatly. So, I consider there is still room for me to learn here.

Things I accomplished



What I learned today

There are several low vision users that use screen readers, but often times they make the most out of the vision they do have by:

  • Using text enlargement and zoom in the browser
  • Changing colors, contrast, or fonts in the browser or operating system
  • Using magnifying tools
  • Using keyboard commands in conjunction with mouse to speed up interaction

ZoomText Magnifier/Reader is a Freedom Scientific product (the same company that produces JAWS). It appears to be a very robust program, offering enhancements to increase visibility of content, cursor, and focus. Additionally, it has a screen reader function, and has a toolbar that lets the user search and find by text, headings, lists, tables, etc (unified finder). ZoomText and JAWS can work together.

“VoiceOver can describe images to you, such as telling you if a photo features a tree, a dog, or four smiling faces. It can also read aloud text in an image — whether it’s a snapshot of a receipt or a magazine article — even if it hasn’t been annotated.” WOW. I tried this on my iPhone and verified that it could describe a picture of my son outside in the snow. My mind was BLOWN. This technology makes me very happy for one of my blind friends!

iOS magnification can jump from 100% to 1500%. Android phones have magnification, too.

High contrast text, color inversion, and color correction are available on Android 5.0+, however, they are still considered experimental features. That’s interesting, considering these are solid accessibility options on iPhones.


5 thoughts on “Day 51: Users with Low Vision”

  1. Just hit 50 this year and I can’t read print magazines anymore!! The text on color backgrounds and the tiny font are illegible now. I’m switching to iPad and it has helped considerably. I work in a digital accessibility company too, so I’m more aware of these issues… thanks for the blogging!


    1. Thanks for sharing, Kris. I have a visual impairment myself, and digital formats have greatly improved my reading experience by just allowing me to control font size and contrast. I have so many more choices now than I did as a kid!


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