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Designing a highly accessible website for UK charity, Action For Blind People, based on extensive testing with blind and partially-sighted users.

www.actionforblindpeople.org.uk

Introducing Action for Blind People

Action for Blind People is an expert national organisation dedicated to ensuring that blind and partially sighted people receive practical support in all aspects of their lives. It is Action’s mission to inspire change and create opportunities; enabling blind and partially sighted people to have an equal voice and equal choice.

The challenge

Our first major challenge was to design a highly accessible website, able to deliver a superior browsing experience to Action’s many blind and partially sighted web users. Other challenges included adapting Action for Blind People’s vibrant offline brand to suit the online context and seamlessly integrating fundraising across the site: thereby helping to grow Action’s supporter and donor database. We were also tasked with creating an area of the site especially for young people, to support the charity's Actionnaires Clubs.

What we did

We began by examining the needs of visitors and visualising their journeys on site. This resulted in a major overhaul of the navigation; the introduction of landing pages and the development of a new help directory. We’ve designed the site to be bold and engaging; offering blind and partially sighted web users a number of ways to view content: including high contrast, monochrome and variable text sizing. These features improve the overall accessibility of the site: a central part of this redesign project.

Our designs for Action were developed in collaboration with blind and partially sighted web users using screen reading software. We held regular user testing sessions, feeding user comments back into the design and navigation. Our aim was to go beyond simple accessibility compliance to create a site of genuine use to the charity's audiences. For the Actionnaires area of the site, we created a fresh and unique design; incorporating fun characters for kids to identify with (see above).

The results

Action for Blind People’s website has enabled the charity to build new relationships with supporters and service users via digital mediums like email, blogs and podcasts. Action now has the flexibility to undertake integrated fundraising and awareness campaigning; making use of the interactive and immediate nature of the web to generate donations and convert more visitors into supporters. The charity’s blind and partially sighted audiences have welcomed the site; with their feedback being used to evolve the content and functionality on site.