By Katherine Andes
My friend Brent is a whiz on the computer. He helps friends with computer problems. He can reinstall operating systems and clean out viruses. He is also blind.
For those of us who “see” with our eyes, it’s hard to comprehend using a computer without a monitor.
But that’s just what Brent does. With screen-reader technology, he hears what’s written on websites and emails. And he’s not unusual.
There are many blind computer users out there, and they shop on the Internet.
Home furnishings retailers need to help the blind “see” their products by including text describing their images. It should be placed near the product.
Also, be sure to write a description in the “alt tag” found in the properties section of your site builder. This tag is specifically designated to describe images for search engines.
Let’s say you had an image and, for design purposes, you didn’t wish to put a caption near it. By putting the description in the “alt tag” the blind user can still read it.
But it’s best to use both a caption and an alt tag with each image.
While you are at it, try to include any other important keywords in the alt tag description. This will assist your search engine optimization efforts, too.
The blind population may not be very large, but they are very loyal customers to retailers who make it easy for them to shop on the Internet.
Katherine Andes is a consultant who specializes in web copy writing, including search engine optimization, and landing pages — especially in the home improvement market. You can contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org.