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AFBAmerican Foundation®
for the Blind

Expanding possibilities for people with vision loss

The American Foundation for the Blind's Commitment to Web Accessibility


Web accessibility is critical to a fully open society. In America alone, over 20 million people are blind or visually impaired. The ability to use the Internet is essential for finding work, maintaining your finances, shopping, making travel plans, and more.

But many organizations unwittingly throw up roadblocks to access by building inaccessible websites.

The American Foundation for the Blind (AFB) is committed to the highest levels of accessibility on our websites, and is an example for other organizations hoping to offer robust, fully-featured sites of their own. We also offer consulting services through AFB Tech.

Here are some specific examples of how we have designed our sites to be accessible to people who are blind or have low vision, and easy to use by everyone:

  • We provide meaningful text alternatives (alt-text) for all images, and label our forms clearly and correctly.
  • We provide viewing alternatives for all multimedia — videos are described and captioned, and transcripts are provided for all video and audio files. Our accessible embedded HTML5 video player, used to display the video on this page, is easy to control with keyboard commands. The player is now available under a General Public License version 3 to any organization or developer who wants to make it easy for people who are blind or visually impaired to play videos online.
  • We give users the ability to change the colors of our site with a variety of contrast options, and change or increase the text size. Visitors who are using screen readers have the option to move the navigation links to the bottom of the page.
  • We need to prevent spam, but we want all legitimate users to be able to comment on our blogs and message boards, so we built an accessible CAPTCHA.
  • Through AFB Press, we offer books, journals, videos, and electronic materials for sale. Our well-labeled e-commerce site makes all of the product options clear, so you always know exactly what you're "adding to cart."
  • The AFB eLearning Center provides accessible self-paced online courses and webinars, with fully transcribed and captioned presentations, well-labeled quizzes, and a straightforward interface for managing your continuing education credits.
  • Our flyout menus work for mouse users, touch screens, visitors with low vision, and people using screen readers.
  • The "slideshow" (or "carousel") feature on our home page is easy to control and doesn't change the images until you want it to — an important control element for visitors with low vision.
  • The same attention to clean, responsive code means that AFB's sites are optimized for mobile devices.

AFB understands that information is power. We are committed to connecting people to life-changing information, resources, local services, and a vibrant and supportive community via our award-winning family of websites. That requires making them as accessible as possible—for everyone.

AFB Tech, a division of the American Foundation for the Blind (AFB), offers accessibility and usability consulting for companies, organizations, and individuals. Let us show you how making your product accessible will make it better for all users and more profitable for you.

Transcript of Video

A screen reader reads the opening text: Expanding possibilities, weaving a web for all (new line)...online accessibility for people with vision loss.

Male narrator: There are millions of people with vision loss who are using the web every day with the help of screen reading and screen magnification software.

Sound of screen reader: "American Foundation for the Blind, expanding possibilities for people with vision loss."

Narrator: It's hard to get anything done without the Internet.

Audio description, a woman's voice: Screen shots of various web pages.

Narrator: We need it for news, business, personal finance, shopping, and much more. But sites that don't follow web accessibility standards create roadblocks for people with vision loss.

Audio description: Internet users struggle to read CAPTCHAs and poorly labeled images. Lee Huffman, editor AFB AccessWorld.

Lee Huffman: It's frustrating when you encounter an inaccessible website. You cannot connect with friends and colleagues, you can't check your bank balance, and you can't purchase things online. You have to guess at what's on the screen, and things take twice as long as they should. [Sound of screen reader saying "search for bookstore."]

Anyone who's creating a website needs to make sure that it is accessible to people with vision loss. [Sound of screen reader saying "view my cart."] It's not more costly, it's not more time-consuming. It's easy to do, and it's the right thing to do.

Audio description: Various shots of people using the Internet on computers at work and home.

Narrator: Here's why you should care about web accessibility. It's the right thing to do. Our society is a better place when everyone is included, and has a chance to contribute. Think of a grandmother who may be losing her vision but still wants to be able to search for toys for her grandchildren [Screen reader saying "d-o-l-l-s"], or good books to read.

Think of Michelle, a bright college student who will soon be researching job opportunities online.

It's the legal thing to do.

Audio description: Sign in the window of a business reads "No customers with vision loss."

Narrator: You wouldn't bar the door of a real-world business to seniors who are losing their sight, or soldiers who have lost their vision in battle, but that's exactly what you're doing if your website is not accessible.

It's the simple thing to do. There are good guidelines available from the Worldwide Web Consortium (W3C) and AFB is here to help.

Audio description: Screenshot of the W3C website.

Narrator: It benefits everyone. The same good techniques that make web pages accessible to those who use access technology benefits users of other devices as well.

Audio description: A graphic of tablets and smart phones.

Lee Huffman: AFB Tech is here to help companies that need to make their websites accessible. Making a website accessible for people with vision loss is easy, and it's affordable.

Narrator: Learn more at afb.org/tech, and help spread the word about web accessibility by sharing this video. Together, we can help expand possibilities for people with vision loss.

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