Designing for the Partially Sighted

It’s become that time where the site needed an update, or overhaul, the criteria being a little different from the average web design in that this one needs to be suitable for the partially sighted. This has meant leaving a large proportion of the aesthetic elements in the background while we’ve focused on readability and simplicity. Some might say it’s rendered the website looking a little plain, however we would like to think it’s clean and web designcrisp, but as always are interested if anyone has any thoughts on this.

We have had some help from a couple of web designers we know, both Sharkfin from Cornwall and Jump in Wiltshire have offered advice and help in one way or another, however the work itself has been done by yours truly. They are both advocates of keeping web design simple and clean, so as not to detract from the content and message on a page, this is in keeping with what we needed to achieve here on BSG as most of our site visitors are elderly, partially sighted or in many cases both. Therefore clarity is key, both in how a page is presented and how the navigation and menu’s work. I think we’ve all seen examples of websites which have probably been designed by some arty design agency and it’s difficult enough to find your way past the first page, let alone to the specific content you are looking for.

So, high contrast has been the order of the day and working with a standard template has made this infinitely easier, we just found something in black and white and updated that, next the fonts which are used throughout the site are clear and large, we’ve then stripped out everything which is unnecessary and avoided adding any fancy bells and whistles which make the website look good, but don’t actually serve any practical purpose, tag clouds being a great example of this type of thing, although fortunately they are out of fashion these days anyway.

Anyway, please do give us any feedback, we would like to know what you think about the new web design and how easy the site is to use, if there is anything you think should be added or taken out. Thanks for your patience waiting for what was, and let’s be honest, a fairly tired looking site until the revamp.