Making Your Blog Accessible for the Visually Impaired

There are over 1.3M people who are legally blind in the US.  In the UK, there are 2M —and in Australia, nearly 600K people. Here’s how to make your site more friendly to screen readers.

A few years back, one of my young friends came over from Canada to work with an intern at the Library of Congress.    She was legally blind, and when she got tired, she used a screen reader.  I became much more attuned to the problem that blogs pose for those who do need to use them.

One of my more recent posts is mostly pictures.  I struggled to figure out how to set the “alt” text.  In the Olden Days, we hand-coded pages using HTML–and so we just added that alt text to the img tag.  More resources are available today for those using screen readers, which can access the title of the image and a description — if I only knew how to set them,   And so, I learned about the Media Editor in WordPress, to make it easier for people with disabilities to be able to understand my posts.

The Media Editor

We find the media editor just below the Blog Posts editor.  We can click on add and it pulls up all the media you’ve uploaded.

A screen shot that shows where the media editing button is located

All the media from all our posts are made available.  They’re grouped by day, so you can work on all of today’s posts, yesterday’s post, etc.

Screen Shot 2018-01-27 at 7.15.40 PM

You can choose multiple pictures to edit.   Click the images you want to edit first. THEN the Edit button will magically appear at the top of the screen. Screen Shot 2018-01-27 at 7.45.20 PM

If you click more than one image, they’ll get numbers.  When you hit the edit button, you can go through all of them in a sequence.  You’ll see the little arrows on each side to let you page through the pictures needing to be edited.

Screen Shot 2018-01-27 at 7.51.05 PM

Here’s an example of the editing screen.   Screen readers will read the screen title, the caption, the alt text and the Description, if they are available.  I sometimes add captions, sometimes I don’t.  Adding good descriptions and alt text helps low sight readers to understand what they would see in the picture.

A screen shot of the Media Editing screen with a picture of a woman as an example.

.Take a little time to make your site friendly to screen readers.  It’s good for your audiences, it’s good for the community–it’s good for your blog.

And thanks for all the follows and likes! And comments!  ~ Lola


Author: Lola

Recovering academic, real-life, honest to cornflakes anthropologist (Ph.D. and fieldwork and everything), tech-head and social media researcher.

3 thoughts on “Making Your Blog Accessible for the Visually Impaired

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.