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This publication is available at https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/understanding-disabilities-and-impairments-user-profiles/claudia-partially-sighted-screen-magnifier-user
My screen magnifier has made it possible for me to use the web again. I just wish more companies kept their websites simple.
Claudia is 54 and lives in Huddersfield with her husband Len and daughter Dana who is 12. Her other two children are away at university.
Claudia is partially sighted due to glaucoma and diabetes.
She works part time as a social worker with Kirklees Council. She used to visit people in their homes, but lost her confidence as her sight got worse. Now she’s based in the office, and she’s hoping to start training and mentoring new social workers.
Devices and technology
Claudia’s setup at work includes ZoomText (software that lets you magnify what’s on screen), a large monitor and a high visibility keyboard. She has a similar setup at home.
She recently got a Kindle Fire for reading - she has tried its screen reader function, but she prefers to use the magnification to read herself or use audiobooks.
Claudia prefers phone calls to emails and never sends text messages. She uses the ‘speech to text’ feature on her smartphone, which records a message and sends it to the person she’s contacting.
Goals and wishes
Claudia wants to be able to phone any company she needs to contact - it’s so much quicker and easier for her to call than to write.
She also wishes there was less clutter on some websites - she just wants to get on with what she’s doing.
Claudia tends to forget to scroll horizontally when she’s using ZoomText. When she’s filling in a form, she sometimes misses fields or help text when they’re next to each other (rather than above and below each other).
She hates it when she’s using ZoomText and a pop-up box appears off screen. She then needs to scroll to find and close the pop-up.
It’s confusing if the layout of a form isn’t consistent - for example, if she’s been magnifying a certain part of the screen to complete a form, but then that part is blank on the next page.
Sometimes it’s hard for Claudia to see web content clearly when she borrows her husband’s tablet, if the colour contrast isn’t good.
Making things better for Claudia
|What to do||Further reading|
|Follow best practice for accessible form design - for example, leave enough space between fields, and position field labels directly above the fields they relate to.||Components for user interfaces, part of the GOV.UK Design System.|
|Make your layout consistent and predictable. For example, make sure the position of things like ‘Next’ and ‘Back’ buttons is consistent.||Make web pages appear and operate in predictable ways, WCAG 2.0 guideline.|
|Do user research with people who use screen magnification software.||User research for government services: an introduction, guidance on GOV.UK.|
|Use a colour contrast ratio of at least 4.5 to 1 between text and its background.||
Colour contrast - why does it matter, on the GDS Accessibility blog.
Colour in the GOV.UK Design System.
|Use responsive design and avoid publishing to PDFs (which you can’t customise or zoom).||Accessibility and me: Marion Foley, post on the GDS Accessibility blog.|
You may find the following resources useful:
- ‘Designing for users with low vision’ is one of a set of posters designed by the Home Office. You can read about and download them from this blogpost
- How to make your website accessible to people who use a screen magnifier, blog post by The Practical Dev
- How to make your site accessible for screen magnifiers, article by axess labs
- Accessibility and testing with ZoomText, guidance by the BBC Accessibility team
Statistics about sight loss
About 2 million people in the UK have sight loss, and this figure is expected to double by 2050.
Individuals from black and Asian populations have a higher risk of diabetic eye disease and sight loss than white populations.
Less than one-third of people who were registered blind or partially sighted were offered training to help them get around in the year after they were registered.