The mission of the Lighthouse is to provide people who are visually impaired and blind with the skills needed to achieve their maximum independence. Lighthouse works with people of all ages, from babies to seniors, who experience vision impairment, blindness and low vision.
With significant advances in technology since their website was first launched, the Lighthouse saw an opportunity to offer their visitors a more accessible and intuitive user experience, and enable their users to use smartphones, tablets and desktops to easily and independently navigate the Lighthouse website.
The SMAC Stack Insights
Time-to-market is a critical factor for most business and consumer Apps. Quick iterative design cycles, rapid prototyping, and usability testing are key to ensuring the success of gesture and touch friendly Apps.
The primary users of the Lighthouse website are clients who are visually impaired or blind, with the secondary audience being sighted visitors, most of who are adults and senior citizens. With that in mind, it was important to design a user experience that appealed to all demographics, with the overarching goal being that vision impaired and blind visitors be able to navigate the site independently and easily.
Optimizing the user experience
Some of the unique design considerations for the Lighthouse website included creating a design that not only rendered well on different types of devices, but also adapted seamlessly with a variety of assistive technologies that are built into more recent desktop and mobile operating systems, such as screen readers and screen magnifiers for visitors with impaired vision, and guided access and assistive touch for visitors with dexterity issues. Other design requirements included minimizing content “clutter”, close proximity and grouping of related information, and using high contrasting colors.
Increasing engagement with
Some of the impactful usability improvements made to the Lighthouse site included:
- Support a content audit process to eliminate redundant content.
- Designing a persistent navigation that is context aware. With parallax scrolling, users will always have access to the site navigation to easily explore all areas of the site.
- Addition of a homepage hero banner highlighting the key programs offered by Lighthouse.
- Prominent link to the contact form added to all pages through the persistent navigation.
- Prominent placement of the ‘Donate Now’ call-to-action as The Lighthouse relies heavily on donations offered by private donors.
Design + Devices +
Accessibility = Success!
Ayantek worked very closely with Lighthouse stakeholders during the design process every step of the way to ensure that accessibility requirements were being met. Each design iteration was reviewed and usability tested by both sighted users and visually impaired users who use adaptive technology. This collaborative approach enabled Ayantek and Lighthouse to quickly validate design options before moving on to the next step in the process. The new Lighthouse website was launched in 2016 and has been enthusiastically received by users who are grateful for a website they can use independently and with such ease.
“It is often said that technology is the equalizer for people who are blind. Visiting a website that is not accessible, as many are not, is incredibly frustrating and discouraging. The Lighthouse greatly appreciates the tremendous care and work Ayantek put into ensuring that Lighthouse has an accessible, responsive, and engaging website. The site has enhanced our ability to increase awareness about services and visual impairment, and increased our ability to raise much needed donations. Ayantek saw our vision and worked closely with us to make it a reality.”
The Lighthouse for the Visually Impaired & Blind and Ayantek won the 2016 Davey Silver Award for the LVIB.com website in the ‘Corporate Responsibility’ Category