Millions of Blind People: Their Inclusion on the Web is Not Optional

Imagine for a moment being visually impaired and trying to use a smartphone or read an online article. This experience highlights the importance of making web content more accessible. A few good practices can transform the digital experience of the blind and visually impaired.

In 2019, the World Health Organization (WHO) published a report on vision problems: according to their estimates, over 2.2 billion people worldwide are visually impaired or blind. This means that one quarter of the planet's population suffers from some degree of visual impairment.

Existing tools: magnifiers and screen readers

Some users use a magnifying system to enlarge the information displayed on the screen. This can be a real magnifying glass or a tool built into the browser.

Barre d'adresse du navigateur Firefox avec un zoom de 200%
The keyboard shortcut to use the zoom: "Ctrl" and "+" (to be repeated as many times as necessary)
Affichage par défaut sur un navigateur
Default zoom
Affichage d'une page avec un zoom à 300%
Zoom: 300%

Other people use screen readers. These programs read aloud the text displayed on a given page. These assistive tools therefore allow users to know where each element is located on a page and interact with them. Navigation is done using a keyboard instead of a mouse.

Good practices for making the web more accessible

This video illustrates the importance of elements that are sometimes overlooked when creating content for the web.

Alternative text for images

When publishing an image on a website or social network, it is possible to fill in a field called "Alternative text". This allows to describe what is on the chosen visual. This text will be read by screen readers, making this visual content accessible to all users.

Le champ de texte alternatif de Linkedin
LinkedIn alternative text
Le champ de texte alternatif de Instagram
Instagram alternative text
  • Provide a detailed alternative text for each image.
  • For example: "two teenagers playing soccer on the lawn".

Different levels of headings

Structuring text carefully makes it easier to represent the organization of information. A screen reader selects the main headings, then the subheadings (etc...) to quickly identify the relevant content. When writing an article, it is possible to make navigation simpler for everyone.

  • Insert as many headings (H1, H2...) as necessary and create well-delimited paragraphs.

Text of links

Thanks to screen readers, people with visual impairments can navigate the different links on a page using their keyboard. Problem: if the text of all links is identical (for example, "click here"), it is difficult to know where they are or where they lead to. Being as explicit as possible on the text of links makes the site more understandable.

Exemple d'un lien mal configuré sur l'un des sites du gouvernement
Counter-example on this article dedicated to accessibility (
  • Carefully craft the text of links to clearly indicate where they lead.
  • For example: "(...) as demonstrated by the  general accessibility improvement reference, published by the interministerial digital affairs department (DINUM)".

Other frequently used elements on websites and applications, such as contact forms and tables, also deserve our attention. The goal is to make them understandable for all visitors.

In addition to these elements, other frequently used items on websites and applications, such as contact forms and tables, also deserve our attention. The goal is to make them understandable for all visitors.

It's worth noting that this work also makes it easier to index content, as the robots that index websites are unable to see.

[Cover photo: Tyler Lastovich]

A digital that is accessible to all and does not exhaust the planet's resources: a future challenge that we can address now. My mission: to find responsible, ethical, and inclusive initiatives that are moving things in the right direction.


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