Sookio's seven usability tools to try (when you don't know your UX from your alt tag)

How the BBC Weather page could look to someone with macular degeneration

Not every business has a team of developers on call to ensure their website meets the latest accessibility standards. What free or low-cost usability tools are out there to help ensure your website content is accessible to all?

Here are some of the new suggestions the team at Sookio picked up at usability conference Camp Digital, plus some of their favourites.

The team says:

We also have lots of tips to share in our round-up from this excellent event: Usability is sexy. Accessibility is hot. Clarity is…phwoar! Give it a read when you’ve finished this one…


1. Try a screen reader

NVDA is free software which reads out the text in your website. How does your own site sound?

The founders believe that every blind and visually impaired person deserves the right to freely and easily access a computer. The tool they’ve developed is used by visually impaired people in 200 countries and has been translated into 43 different languages.

There are lots of others available, and with this one being free it’s a great place to start.

2. Install the NoCoffee extension

This is a simply brilliant Chrome extension which shows how your website could look to people with different conditions or levels of vision impairment. Hat tip to Sarah Richards for highlighting this in her Camp Digital talk.

The image above is how the BBC Weather page could look to someone with macular degeneration, for example.

How to use NoCoffee:

1. Install the extension

2. Play with the settings to simulate things like visual blur, cloudiness or glaucoma symptoms

3. Open up a website on a new tab. See the result…

Suddenly you realise that your beautiful palette actually causes problems to people with colour blindness. You understand how that paragraph of incredibly dense text is impenetrable to someone with cataracts.

From there, you can make design decisions to help ensure your website is more usable by your audience.

For more tools and how to use them, read the Sookio blog

To read more information, click here.

Sookio is a digital agency based in Cambridge, UK. We help our clients communicate with confidence through quality content for the web and social media.