Section 508 design for declining visual acuity

Visual acuity tends to decline as we get older, but few sites dealing with senior issues make a strong effort to have accessible design for the visually-impaired. Design issues include such things as resizable fonts, spatial arrangement of information, and color issues for Section 508.

Here’s a shoutout for the website of the New Jersey’s Aging and Disability Resource Connection website (www.adrcnj.org), a very good example of what a Section 508 site designed specifically to address visual acuity problems in seniors could look like.

Key to the Section 508 compliance for the New Jersey site is the minimalist design and emphasis on accessibility by people with visual impairment. The high-contrast blue on white color scheme addresses the issue of declining visual acuity and color-blindness. Blue holds up well as acuity declines and can be differentiated by most colorblind users (a trick I learned when I designed a software interface for NASA). The white background maximizes contrast with whatever is in the foreground. The site also lets the user adjust the font size.

New Jersey’s service delivery system, known as the Aging and Disability Resource Connection (ADRC), was awarded $118,000 by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services for the project that the website supports. The funding will standardize “options counseling”‘ to ensure that consumers get the guidance they need in for selecting appropriate programs or services.

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