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If You Have Been Disabled or Have Trouble Viewing This Image….

Posted on | August 6, 2008 | No Comments

by Holly Buchanan

Yup, I was reading through my emails, and saw this as the subject line. Of course, my eyes deceived me – the actual line was “If your images have been disabled”  Funny how the mind interprets what the eyes see.

I can’t blame it all on Chardonnay consumption. As the years creep up, my eyesight creeps down. I do feel disabled sometimes. Especially when websites, menus, product labels, etc. insist on using small font sizes. Here are some tips to make sure she is able to read your material:

  • If you want her to interact with your website, try to have your font size at least 12 point, if not higher. A significant portion of the population has trouble reading anything less than 14 point times on paper. And make sure visitors can adjust text size. ( (For those who don’t know, you can look at your browser settings to increase text size) I won’t get all technical on you, but your techie person can do this in a CSS style sheet.
  • Avoid reverse text. That grey text on dark backgrounds is really hard to read, even with good eyesight. Your design folks may tell you how cool it looks, but if you want people to actually read the text, remember, reverse text is not the way to go.
  • For offline settings, check your lighting.

One of the reasons I love the Boulders resort is that they give all their guests miniature flashlights. They know their dark desert setting makes walking at night treacherous, so they take this step to help their guests. I still have my little Boulders flashlight and use it all the time when I’m in dark parking lots, trying to read a menu in a dimly lit restaurant, or need some extra light to read small print (which to me, is almost all print these days).

Keep in mind when your customers who wear glasses may be without them – like in a shower trying to read tiny labels on bath products, or in a spa locker room trying to read printed material or signing a check. Consider having generic reading glasses lying around. One enterprising company I heard about created cheap reading glasses with their logo on them, so when customers sometimes “forgot” and walked off with the glasses, it was free advertising. Just like that little Boulders flashlight which makes me think fondly of the place every time I use it (which is quite often).

Pay attention to font size. Your message won’t be effective if she can’t read it.


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