4 Tools To Make Web Pages Easier To Read For People With Poor Eyesight (Firefox)

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low vision ff 08   4 Tools To Make Web Pages Easier To Read For People With Poor Eyesight (Firefox)The Internet has long become a mainstream tool. You no longer need to be a programmer to sit for hours in front of the computer every day. People of all ages and professions work and spend days online.

This means that people with various visual disabilities (be it poor eyesight, color blindness, etc) as well as older people (who may have bad sight) use the Web on a daily basis – and not many website owners care about making the lives of those people easier.

This post aims to help those with bad eyesight to become independent of each individual website interface. Here are 4 tools that will help you make web pages that are easier to read for low-vision people.

1. LowBrowse

LowBrowse creates a new frame in the top part of the browser that, on hover over, presents the text in a single line with configurable text size, font, color contrast and letter spacing without having to zoom in and out.

The tool will let users:

  • See the white text on a black background (by default);
  • Read the text in a huge font hovering over the text on a web page.

low vision ff 01   4 Tools To Make Web Pages Easier To Read For People With Poor Eyesight (Firefox)

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2. Readable

Readable (as well as this one that looks very similar) transforms text on any website using fonts, colors, and layouts that you choose.

To make it work, just select the part of the page you want to read and click the Readable icon in the status bar. The simplified, easier to read version of the selected text will load in a new pane in the foreground of the current page:

low vision ff 02   4 Tools To Make Web Pages Easier To Read For People With Poor Eyesight (Firefox)

Right-clicking on the same icon lets the user customize the box and font size, color and contrast:

low vision ff 03   4 Tools To Make Web Pages Easier To Read For People With Poor Eyesight (Firefox)

3. Nosquint

Nosquint (this addon has also been mentioned in a MUO article listing add-ons that improve Firefox’s page zoom feature) lets you adjust the font size and color as well as customize and “traditionalize” the overall page look and feel.

The addon allows you to:

  • Set your own foreground and background colors (to adjust the contrast and make the page text easier to read);
  • Hide all background images (to remove the clutter);
  • Enjoy your zoom levels and color settings from site to site;
  • Set the look of links (to stick to more standard and traditional patterns: for example, you can always underline links to easier recognize them).

The tool settings can be accessed by right-clicking on its icon in the status bar and clicking “Site Settings”:

low vision ff 04   4 Tools To Make Web Pages Easier To Read For People With Poor Eyesight (Firefox)

The above dialog screen also lets you set the “Global Settings” for all the websites you visit (as well as add the exceptions):

low vision ff 05   4 Tools To Make Web Pages Easier To Read For People With Poor Eyesight (Firefox)

The current settings for each site can be seen on hover-over on the status bar icon:

low vision ff 06   4 Tools To Make Web Pages Easier To Read For People With Poor Eyesight (Firefox)

4. Theme Font & Size Changer

If you spend much time using Firefox and its menus, you’ll find this addon invaluable. It changes the global font size and font family in all windows, menus, toolbars, etc within Firefox itself.

The tool settings can be accessed from the toolbar or status bar options.

low vision ff 07   4 Tools To Make Web Pages Easier To Read For People With Poor Eyesight (Firefox)

There ia a “Normal” value so that you can reset to the default Firefox values.

There are also compatibility issues with some FireFox themes, but if you are using the default theme, there’s nothing to worry about.

Are you aware of any other Firefox addons that would allow easier browsing and reading for people with poor eyesight? Please let us know in the comments!

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17 Comments - Write a Comment

Reply

Oldgoat1957

Okay, I confess I use NoSquint, and it’s pretty good. Some days the bifocals just don’t get it done…

Ann Smarty

Thanks for the comment. I liked that one as well.

Reply

Mrclose

What is it about these ‘magnifying’ extensions that no one seems able to create one without those ‘dumb’ little magnifying glass buttons!?

Hell, if you can’t see the texts in the first place .. you sure as hell wont be able to see the little magnifier icons!

C’mon somebody .. create a tool that will override Firefox’s pathetic Ctrl +scroll wheel zoom settings!

FORGET your ‘little magnifying glasses’!
They’re lame and old school as well as .. aggravating, pathetic and ‘annoying as hell’!
(Did I say annoying?)

MC

Reply

tathre

A text-to-speech toolbar can be very useful for people with poor eyesight, it will read out the text on the web pages. Could you recommend such a add on for firefox? There is already a text-to-speech toolbar for IE ( http://www.panopreter.com ), it reads aloud naturally and clearly on Windows 7.

Thank you!

Reply

Mrclose

What is it about these ‘magnifying’ extensions that no one seems able to create one without those ‘dumb’ little magnifying glass buttons!?

Hell, if you can’t see the texts in the first place .. you sure as hell wont be able to see the little magnifier icons!

C’mon somebody .. create a tool that will override Firefox’s pathetic Ctrl +scroll wheel zoom settings!

FORGET your ‘little magnifying glasses’!
They’re lame and old school as well as .. aggravating, pathetic and ‘annoying as hell’!
(Did I say annoying?)

MC

Ann Smarty

Good point. I wonder why those addons don’t have a good keyboard shortcut (along with the icon) to make things easier. Or do they? Do you think this would at least partially solve the issue?

Reply

tathre

A text-to-speech toolbar can be very useful for people with poor eyesight, it will read out the text on the web pages. Could you recommend such a add on for firefox? There is already a text-to-speech toolbar for IE ( http://www.panopreter.com ), it reads aloud naturally and clearly on Windows 7.

Thank you!

Martha Gr

Is there such a toolbar for Firefox?

Ann Smarty

I did a quick search but wasn’t able to find one. If you post this question in our Answers section, you are most likely to get more people look for the answer for you!
http://www.makeuseof.com/answers/

Reply

Ann Smarty

I did a quick search but wasn’t able to find one. If you post this question in our Answers section, you are most likely to get more people look for the answer for you!
http://www.makeuseof.com/answe

Reply

Mike

Ctrl – : Smaller.
Ctrl + : Larger.
Ctrl 0 : Default.

And Readable rocks too.

Reply

Mike

Ctrl – : Smaller.
Ctrl + : Larger.
Ctrl 0 : Default.

And Readable rocks too.

Reply

Jesus Jaramillo

Readability bookmarklet is awesome

thenonhacker

I am thenonhacker, and I use Readability.

Reply

Ok Jared

Chrome?

Reply

Ann Smarty

There’s Readbility extension for Chrome: https://chrome.google.com/exte… You can set the default font size to “Large” there and even create a keyboard shortcut

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