Individuals with print disabilities may have a variety of challenges interacting with the visual world around them. Depending on their level of sight impairment, impaired vision can be life changing for people of all ages. Adam Spencer has worked with countless individuals with print disabilities to understand the unique challenges when trying to read and interact with digital content.
What Is Low Vision?
Low vision refers to an individual with less than average eyesight. Low vision can sometimes be described as print disability if it is severe. Blindness is a more severe form of visual print disability and results in the loss of almost all or complete vision. Depending on the level of impairment, some vision loss may affect how certain forms of light or color are seen. Other vision impairments can affect how far away objects appear.
Low vision can happen for a variety of reasons, including genetics. Trauma to the head or the eye can also cause visual impairment as well as certain diseases or infections. While some visual impairments can be reversed or corrected with lenses or surgery, other vision impairments are more permanent. For long-lasting vision impairment, accommodations must be made.
The National Coalition for Vision Health outlines the education for youth who are blind or have a visual impairment. In addition to unique educational needs, assistive technology is noted. Types of optical technology assistance include software to vary the print size, large monitors, and low vision devices. Students and adults alike can benefit from the latest advancements in technology that now include accessibility for digital content.
Low vision can impact:
● depth perception
● distance calculation
● colour perception
● visual definition
● shape accuracy
Online Accessibility Rights
The 1977 Canadian Human Rights Act fights to remove barriers for anyone, including those to information and documents on websites. By making websites and their documents accessible to people with print disabilities, all content can be consumed by any user. The Standard on Web Accessibility details specific information about online content.
By removing visual barriers from individuals in Canada, people with print disabilities can consume website content and digital documents. The Accessible Canada Act mandates compliance for online content for the Government of Canada, Parliament, and other federally regulated organizations. Banking, transportation industries, and telecommunication providers must also comply with removing barriers for persons with disabilities.
Adam Spencer of AbleDocs has created specialized products and services to help organizations ensure their content is accessible to individuals with print disabilities. By streamlining these approaches, Adam Spencer and making accessible content, AbleDocs can ensure all digital documents are an effective communication method for people with print disabilities. Using this form of service, any organization can meet the needs of people with print disabilities.
In Ontario, organizations are required to make public-facing websites and digital content accessible to people with print disabilities. The Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act will begin enforcing this on July 1st, 2021 and carry a steep fine for those who do not comply. Organizations that do not have proper content accessibility can face a fine of up to $100,000 per file for each day the offence occurs.
Who must comply with these guidelines?
● private businesses
● non-profit organizations
● governmental organizations
● educational institutions
Online businesses have increased since the pandemic, and web accessibility is more crucial now than ever. While many people assume governments and educational institutions must uphold these accessibility guidelines, many smaller businesses are also held accountable.
Online retailers, and even selling items on third-party sites, may involve the proper site optimization for low vision. Using services like Adam Spencer’s, digital content can be accessible to people with visual disabilities.
The Necessity of Online Document Accessibility
All people with print disabilities have difficulty with basic online interactions. Document accessibility can make a variety of content easier to consume. Images, text, and links can all be optimized for maximum consumption by all users. Using a correct heading tag is one way to make words more readable.
Images that contain ALT-Text are also necessary to access to content that is contained within imagery. This creates alternative text that can explain the image in its rightful context.
How to Include Everyone
There are several methods to optimizing online content. Document accessibility can help individuals with print disabilities accurately interpret what a site is trying to convey. Both the organization and the site users can benefit from inclusive accessibility. For those who do not have a print disability, there is the added benefit of responsive design on both desktop and mobile devices. For people with print disabilities, an accessible document or website will increase the ability to review important information and make purchases.
All types of businesses are now online. Government websites, personal bank accounts, medical information, and educational material are frequently considered necessities. To access data fast, content must be able to be reached on almost any smartphone or laptop. Since the internet has become a place to work, socialize, and purchase everyday goods, everyone must have barrier-free and equal access. Professional services that specialize in document accessibility can help design a functional world for everyone.