Heather Smith does a consumer test to find out which websites are accessible to the two million people in the UK with sight problems
Jamie Oliver grates nutmeg on to a bowl of pasta and Sainsbury's report an increase in weekly sales of the spice from 1,400 to 6,000 jars. The stomach-churning sight of fat oozing from cigarettes in a British Heart Foundation TV ad sends addicts 'in droves' to smoking cessation clinics.
These facts reinforce what PR practitioners already know about the ability of the well-chosen image to sway hearts and minds.
Website designers also understand the power of the visual image. Buttons, banners, Flash animations, photographs, colour schemes and text are all used to create the right impression with visitors. But what happens when the target audience has difficulty seeing these images? How do companies communicate messages effectively to visually-impaired audiences on the web?
According to the RNIB, two million people in the UK have sight problems. Of these, approximately one million are classed as blind or partially sighted. The web is especially important for the visually-impaired who may find accessing services through 'traditional' routes difficult or impossible.