October 10th is World Sight Day, a cause that we’re passionate about at Granite 5 and keen to do our bit to raise its profile. More than 75% of visual impairment is avoidable, highlighting how critical it is for everybody to have regular eye tests. Education and awareness can help to impact these statistics:
- 36 million people are blind
- 253 million people are blind or vision impaired
- The prevalence of blindness and vision impairment combined has dropped from 4.58% in 1990 to 3.37% in 2015
- 55% of moderate or severely vision impaired people are women
- Top causes of visual impairment: refractive errors, cataracts and glaucoma
- Top causes of blindness: cataracts, glaucoma and age-related macular degeneration.
Christian, our Head of Project Delivery knows first hand how the effects of blindness can change lives – his father had an eye removed due to cancer in 2015, which if discovered earlier could have potentially been treated and saved. Christian says “My father is in fact very lucky, he’s only lost 50% of his vision, but it’s changed all of our lives and resulted in a heightened sensitivity to eye health for all of our friends the family”.
Granite 5’s longest serving team member Ellie, who joined in 2001 has lived with a degrading visual impairment her whole life, today living independently with about 5% vision. She was the driving force behind Granite 5 developing our own highly accessible content management system, eGenius CMS in 2005, which continues to be used today by several clients, including some with visual impairment.
The aim of WSD is to raise public awareness of issues surrounding blindness and visual impairment, and to educate about blindness prevention.
We’re proud to join the global campaigns pledge to encourage friends, family and colleagues to take regular eye tests. Reinforcing some of these facts should be enough to encourage everybody to take their eye tests seriously.
Please help us to spread the word;
- You can find out more about free eye tests on the NHS website here
- Information about the Health & Safety Executives guidance for employers on eye tests here
- The International Agency for the Prevention of Blindness runs the WSD campaign, to focus global attention on blindness and vision impairment.
We serve the charity sector with our digital expertise, often helping to generate donations, build awareness, attract volunteers and encourage fundraising activity. We have delivered projects for a number of charities who provide services specifically for blind and visually impaired people across the UK.
The website we produced for Metro Blind Sports continues to be regarded today as a highly accessible site, and is a great tool which helps them to open doors to sport for vision impaired people in Greater London.
We delivered an exciting project for Thomas Pocklington Trust, a well known charity in this sector who work with partners to identify and meet the needs and aspirations of blind and partially sighted people across the UK. The Vital Tech website is a platform that provides information on the huge range of assistive technologies that can significantly impact peoples lives, and is used by medical professionals, those living with visual impairment and their friends and families. We harnessed the power of voice search and Amazon Polly, the text to speech service which helps to deliver talking applications, to deliver an innovative and accessible site. Read our case study here.
We’re currently helping GLFB to rebrand the site we delivered in 2017, a move expected to help to improve their message as the fundraising arm of the 9 different charities they support.
Accessibility for all
Our fully inclusive approach to accessibility considers the needs of everybody, including those with temporary, situational and permanent disability. Our bespoke CMS platform, personal experiences and passion for promoting industry best practice, helps to focus the team and educate our clients on the benefits of following accessibility guidelines – W3C Web Accessibility Initiative (WAI).
We use a range of tools to help with accessibility testing, from tools like the Wave Evaluation Toolbar, and color vision deficiency tester Spectrum, to specialist screen readers like Jaws, NVDA, voice over technologies and screen magnifiers. We also use sight and dexterity simulation glasses and gloves developed by Cambridge University, which help to simulate different sight conditions.
Accessibility for beginners
We feel strongly that all website owners, developers and editors should address these following points as the bare minimum:
- Ensure good colour contrast ratios, especially when using text over background colours
- Stop using small text sizes and buttons
- Avoid using parallax scroll which can induce headaches and motion sickness
- Ensure navigation is consistent – breadcrumbs should be navigable, avoid silo pages, don’t duplicate content
- Performance optimise your site – avoid large payloads, slow loading, heavy images, legacy code
- Aim for maximum compatibility – avoid features which are not supported or compatible with common devices and browsers
- Clearly define the content hierarchy by using h-tags correctly
- Use image alt-tags to describe image content
- Make sure the site can be navigated easily without a mouse, ie using tab and active states on buttons
- Use simple language and spell out any acronyms.