Digital Eye Strain Mar 01, 2017

Image of an eye

Imagine you are sitting at your computer looking up the phone number for your eye doctor. The text is tiny and you have to squint to find the “Contact Us” tab, and when you located it and hover over the link to click the field is so small that it takes you a few tries to actually hit the right mark. Once you’ve clicked the right place and located the text that includes the phone number, you need to zoom in on the screen to make sure you are reading the numbers correctly to type them into your phone.

While all of this might take just 30 seconds out of your day, it is still frustrating. Even if your eyesight is pretty good, you should not have to strain to find the information that you need or squint to read tiny text on a webpage. Even though the example here is based on looking up your eye doctor’s phone number, any website that uses tiny text can cause a lot of problems for people no matter how strong or poor their eyesight is.

What is Eye Strain?

For many people, their vision fluctuates depending on a wide range of factors like environmental conditions and allergens, how bright a room is, and how tired they are or how long they have been working on the computer. According to the Vision Council, tiny text and constant exposure to digital devices can cause real issues, “Digital eye strain is the physical eye discomfort felt by many individuals after two or more hours in front of a digital screen.”[1] Even if a website does not initially seem to have small or unreadable font, after a few hours of looking at the screen, you might suddenly notice that it is getting tougher to distinguish the words you are trying to read.

How Can Installing UserWay Help?

UserWay is a website’s secret weapon against these conditional problems that their users might encounter from time to time. If you own a website and you worry that while the font is technically large enough (and you have checked to make sure that is true by verifying that the font on your site has the correct size and contrast ratios) then installing UserWay’s free accessibility widget can give you an extra bit of security.

When you install the widget (don’t worry it is simple to do and does not impact your site’s code) then you will be giving your users access to a helpful and optional way to get the accessibility modifications that they need. UserWay’s widget is a small circle and you can customize both where the button appears on your site and what color it is so it doesn’t negatively impact the way your site looks. When a user needs an accessibility modification all they have to do is click the small UserWay icon and a helpful menu pops up!

This is where the font issue can be addressed, as the widget includes a few great tools that users can select to help them make the font on your site more readable.

Bigger Text

This is probably one of the most helpful options for anyone suffering from digital eye strain. Users can click on the “Bigger Text” box on the UserWay options menu to increase the font size. To make the feature even more useful, the font size can be increased in four different enlargements. That way whether your users only need a small boost in font size or if they need it to be a whole lot bigger, they can customize your site to meet their needs. Once they have the font size just right, they can close the menu and continue perusing your site. The larger font will appear on every page of your site, so they won’t need to constantly adjust the size to read each page as they move around the site.

Legible Font

It can be tempting to use fancy, whimsical, or just pretty fonts on your website. Even if you think that your site has mostly standard and legible fonts, they might cause issues for certain visitors. That’s why the UserWay menu also has a simple “Legible Font” option. Users can click it to transform any text that might be tough to distinguish into simple, clear, and legible font. If you’re not sure whether or not your font is readable, this is a simple way to eliminate that fear.

While UserWay’s menu has a lot of other great accessibility options, the Bigger Text and Legible Font choices are some of the most helpful for users who are battling eye strain. Giving your users access to these helpful features will give you the peace of mind knowing that you are making your content more accessible and your website simpler to use at the same time.

Is there anyone out there who finds themselves constantly suffering from eye strain? How do you prevent it when you can’t put down your digital device? Let us know how you make modifications to fight eye strain in the comments below!

 

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