incrediBILL - 8:00 pm on Mar 24, 2013 (gmt 0)
Good topic as I was planning to start something along this line.
Anyway a modern screenreader should work out mosts designs these days.
Nice idea but not all of the optically challenged are completely blind and some of the stuff web designers do make those of use with vision issues absolutely bat crap crazy trying to use those sites.
Making eCommerce sites accessible, or any others for that matter, is often a matter of simply using the right software which does all the accessibility stuff for you right out of the box. Where most people run into issues are hand made sites by incompetent designers that don't cover all the bases as most of the stuff is simple and doing the little things for accessibility can sometimes improve your SEO as well.
Due to medical issues, the medicine I'm taking to keep me ticking also caused two nasty cataracts that I can't have surgically corrected for a few months to correct so I'm now living with the problems that these people are complaining about. I was only having minor issues a couple of months ago and it rapidly degraded and it could happen to anyone as both my Mom and Uncle had cataracts as well. It's like looking though a sheer white curtain all the time as you can see everything thru the curtain but nothing is sharp unless it has high contrast. I went from reading with my naked eyes in January to using 2x reading glasses, browser fonts massively enlarged and Microsoft Magnifier on top of my screen set to show 3x larger than that! It looks like I'm typing on the Jumbotron in Times Square but I digress.
It often isn't complicated such as using nice black fonts on white background or black backgrounds with white fonts. Color on color sucks big time and light colors or gray are very difficult to read. Make sure all the images have descriptions to be read, etc. nothing a small shop can't go vs. a big shop, anyone cal do it as it''s not that complicated.
Twitter mobile for instance puts a fairly grey font on a white background and I have to enlarge the crap out of it to read it vs. Engadet's reader which uses a nice crisp black font on white, much easier for me to read.
As a matter of fact, I have issues on WebmasterWorld itself. I can read WebmasterWorld just fine but when I'm typing it's a problem because the default font being picked for the text edit isn't as dark as the font being used to display the page so I have to hit PREVIEW often to really see what in the heck I just typed and it's frustrating as hell.
See how simple accessibility can be? One lousy font change would make my life much easier and that's hardly a big imposition on the little guy.
FWIW, Amazon is one of the easiest sites to read and use based on my current needs so I would look at what they do as an example of how to address accessibility and considering the age of the baby boomers, who do a lot of online shopping, I'd be serious about addressing that demographic and not doing so much cutesy stuff for the cool 20-30 crowd that leaves the rest of us squinting and grumbling and going back to Amazon.
Also keep in mind that a great number of people have partial color blindness and I had an Uncle that couldn't see 2 colors and another Great Uncle that was totally color blind and it also causes issues for us people suffering with cataracts and more.
Avoid light colors, color on color, and keep it high contrast and that alone is all it takes to keep many of us reading your sites.