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Listening to the internet: A blind user listens to the screen reader to navigate his laptop.

Listening to the internet: A blind user listens to the screen reader to navigate his laptop.

 

Why make a website for blind people?

An accessible website can function like an interactive audio guide, providing people who lost their sight with the information they need, making your website more inclusive.

It might sound odd at first to design a website for blind people, so here’s a list of benefits:

 

1) Digital is more accessible than print

A digital text can be read out by a screen reader. A printed text most likely requires a person to recite.

A relatively small number of blind people can read Braille: Fewer than 10 percent of blind Americans read Braille.

In addition, Braille texts are not easy to come by: Only one percent of published books are available in braille.

According to the AFP just “five percent of printed materials and books are available in a readable form for the blind or visually impaired in industrialized nations, and just one percent in developing countries.”

Once you’re plugged in to the internet however, a wealth of information becomes available.

 

2) There is more digital content than printed content

Digital content is growing at a rate close to crazy: Back in 2010 Google CEO Eric Schmidt announced that every two days we create as much information as we did from the dawn of civilization up until 2003.

We are in the Information Age because of the Digital Revolution. There’s so much information available on the internet, we call it information overload.

User generated content has evoked a data explosion – most of it will never make it and was never intended for print.

Already back in 2011 Amazon sold more ebooks than physical books: 105 books for its Kindle e-reader for every 100 hardcover and paperback books.

 

3) Digital is up to date

Even if it’s possible to get alternative forms of content – e.g. Braille or audio – the time it took to produce and deliver means that the information is outdated by default.

The internet offers immediate, real-time updates. Anything can be downloaded in one click. You can subscribe to feeds and stay constantly informed. For anything you could think of – there’s probably an app for that.

 

4) Technology can empower

Anyone willing to try and test online tools and apps, can quickly discover how helpful technology can be.

And if it’s not: Simply providing feedback can be valuable in perfecting it.

Or even better: Get involved in improving it for everyone, for example by joining DAISY.

 

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