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<firstimage=”//static.makeuseof.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/02/low-vision-ff-08.jpg”>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 [No Longer Available]
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.
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:
Right-clicking on the same icon lets the user customize the box and font size, color and contrast:
3. Nosquint [No Longer Available]
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”:
The above dialog screen also lets you set the “Global Settings” for all the websites you visit (as well as add the exceptions):
The current settings for each site can be seen on hover-over on the status bar icon:
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.
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!