I have a lot to learn about blogging and website design. Learning to do so when visually impaired has been very interesting, posing an interesting set of challenges. However, there are a few things that i’d like to do with my blog, and increasing accessibility is one of those goals.
I learned very quickly that there is an incredible variety of causes, and types of vision loss, as well as vast differences to the extent of people’s vision loss. I hope to be able to implement additional tools and solutions that increase accessibility to this blog as I learn of them.
This interest was recently spurred on by a reader of this blog who helped bring to my attention one way to make the blog more accessible, with the use of audio and text-to-speech technology. I’m very thankful for the information she provided, and for providing me with links to some websites that may be able to help.
There are lots of tools like CCTV work stations, or phone apps that can turn text into audio, such as Seeing AI. To make a good, accessible website though, I believe it’s best to assume the audience does not have access to special tools. just the website you’ve made.
I’d like to at some point be able to focus on 3 things to make this blog easier to read. Text size, contrast control, and audio access.
By text size, I mean that i’d like to give readers the chance to choose their own preferred font size. The main concern I have is if, or how, this would affect the blogs formatting.
The best way I can think of improving contrast is by giving readers a few different choices of background and text colour. The most common combinations found on accessibility tools include white text on black, yellow text on black and white text on blue. For how the blog currently looks, It was tough to choose a design scheme that made most of the site look good as the colours come in sets and I do not know how to customise specific colours for individual aspects of the site. If you know, please feel free to share this information with me.
A website that inspired mine is CELA’s (Centre for Equitable Library Access). Please, check out their website and play with the accessibility menu at the top of their page.
The above changes will take me some time to learn about and implement, but audio seems easier. My reader provided two sites to help out with including audio on this blog, https://websitevoice.com/ and https://www.text2speech.org/
After looking over the two, I like the sound of the voice from websitevoice more. It will, however, take me a bit more time to learn how the scripts work, and if it works well here on wordpress.com. Text2speech lets me just paste in a chunk of text and creates an audio file for me that I can upload onto the blog. It’s a simple solution that allows me to start sharing audio versions of my blog starting right now.
Now to be 100% honest, I have been adjusting to the use of audio books recently, and the robotic voice sometimes bothers me, so ultimately I think i’d most like to read out and narrate my own blogs in a totally human voice. I guess this means a microphone may join my things-to-buy list, but no promises.
Thank you again for the wonderful advice and information, Patricia. This is my first blog entry with audio. Hopefully the quality of the audio will continue to get better and better, and help make my blog ever more accessible.