Celebrating National White Cane Awareness Day

Did you know that on October 15 is observed as White Cane Awareness Day? This day helps celebrate and acknowledge the accomplishments of those who are blind or visually impaired. The holiday is named after the white cane that is used by many who are visually impaired to navigate more confidently and avoid obstacles. Just as the white cane helps those who are blind navigate independently as they walk, there are some simple implications you can make to your firm’s site to help those who are visually impaired navigate your site. Here’s how:

1. Label Images and Graphics

When you upload pictures or graphics to your firm’s site, it’s likely that those are there for a reason. Adding in an alt-text to describe your images will allow for those who use a screen reader to have the image described to them. You don’t need a long description either. Just a few words on what the image is about. For example, if you have an image of a person filing out a disability form, your alt-text could read something like “Disability applicant fills out Disability Evaluation Form”. That said, you don’t want to make your alt-text too short. Going back to the prior example, something like “person fills out form” doesn’t give enough description.

2. HTML Structure

Your HTML should read just like a normal page would. This means left to right and top to bottom. There should be headers and subheaders clearly labeled. Having your firm’s site’s HTML well written and easy to navigate and understand will make it easier for a screen-reader to relay the information in your content to a visitor.

3. Relative Font Sizes

Instead of having a fixed font size, consider relative font sizes. This means that as people zoom in or out, the font size will change. Those that need to zoom in can expand the text, making it larger and easier to read.

4. Keyboard Accessibility

Those who are blind or visually impaired may be using their keyboard rather than a mouse to navigate through your firm’s site. Visitors should be able to use different keyboard commands to click through your firm’s site and fill out necessary forms. For example, visitors should be able to scroll through menu items, navigate the page, and click a link while using their keyboard and not just a mouse.

5. Contrast

Use high contrast to allow for an easier read. This doesn’t mean use red text on a green background. If you have a light background use a darker text so that it’s easier to read, and vice versa. The contrast between the background and the text will help those who are visually impaired easily read the content on your firm’s site.

6. Accessible Forms

All forms on your firm’s site should be accessible. If you want someone to fill out your firm’s Free Case Evaluation then you need to be sure all visitors and screen readers can navigate and understand the form. If you have required sections, write “required” next to the section rather than just an “*” or bolding the section. If a visitor does not complete a required section, do not just say “error”. Instead, have something like “Error with submission, please review the form” appear.

7. Label Links

Don’t just have links with the anchor text as “click here”. Instead, use descriptive links like “more information about applying for disability benefits”. As visitor uses their keyboard to navigate through the content, they may likely be tabbing from link to link. A descriptive anchor text let’s them know exactly what the link is rather than having to click “learn more”.

Source: afb.org/about-afb/what-we-do/afb-consulting/afb-accessibility-resources