O’ Conner, a web designer that has been working for 15 years in the field, describes that it is important to test early in the design process, so not just at the end of the process. She says that a designer should ‘take the time to see things differently’ (O’ Conner, 2014). Almost everyone that writes about designing with inclusivity in mind mentions that you have to test early and that you need to test it several times. This is already important when you design without having VIPs in mind but when you design for accessibility there is a big chance you can not test it yourself. Include testing in your design process so it doesn’t become an ‘afterthought’.
A good way to check if your design is accessible for the visually impaired is to use simulators. These simulators can help you to determine whether a design will work for a VIP. Using the simulator ‘NoCoffee’ a designer can see how their website looks for people with Cataracts, Macular degeneration or Diabetic retino pathy. You can read about and download NoCoffee here.
One of the better websites to check the accessibility of your website is wave.webaim.org. Here you can simply put the link to your website and see things like missing alternative texts for images and how your text is structured.
To ensure that your project is accessible we have made a checklist for you to go through during the process of developing your project.
An alternative checklist can be found at the website of The A11Y Project.
You can use the persona’s found in the ‘target audience’ chapter to see if your design works for one or more of these. This way you can check whether your project caters to one or more visual impairment. This is just a preliminary check though, testing with actual VIPs is always recommended.