People who are blind generally use a screen reader to navigate their computer or mobile device. The considerations below cover both blind users who are using a screen reader and blind users who are not. A person who is deafblind they may be using a Braille display instead.

Screen readers are used by more than people who have visual disabilities. Make sure you’re not discounting the experience of people with low vision, cognitive disabilities or neurological disabilities (among others) when thinking of screen reader users.

Design Considerations


  • Make sure your content follows a linear, logical layout 1.
  • Write descriptive links and headings, for example “Contact Us” 1.
  • Present all content in text or in a text equivalent, because screen readers can only read text content 2.
  • Ensure all functionality and interactivity can be accessed by keyboard, because while most blind users can move a mouse or a trackpad, they can’t see where the pointer is 2.
  • Use semantic HTML. Screen readers offer users the ability to navigate by headings, landmarks, and other semantic elements when they’re present 2.
  • Provide forms and data tables where the information is easy to scan and understand even at 400x zoom.
  • Use the correct name or label, role, and value for custom controls through either HTML or ARIA to ensure that screen reader users understand what is going on2.
  • Provide immediate feedback after the user or the system take an action. If the browser is silent, the user doesn’t know whether something failed or succeeded, or even finished 2.
  • Ensure videos have audio descriptions if the video’s audio track doesn’t describe the visual scenes of the video. Otherwise a blind person won’t understand what they’re watching 2.
  • Label buttons and loading states in native mobile apps so that they are read by screen readers 3.
  • Provide usage hints in iOS and Android to provide additional guidance 3.
  • Provide a clear exit path from modal dialogs in native applications 3 (and web applications).
  • Use sound to communicate messaging such as signaling that something was successful on native apps 3.


  • Don’t only provide information in an image or video 1.
  • Don’t spread content all over a page 1.
  • Don’t convey information based solely on visual attributes such as the position of something, its color, thickness, background highlight, etc. because screen readers generally can’t access visual information 2.
  • Don’t rely on text size and placement for structure 1.
  • Don’t write uninformative links and headings, for example, “Click here” 1.
  • Don’t use custom swipe actions on mobile devices or touchscreens. Screen reader users control their screen readers on phones and tablets using swipe actions. If you create custom swipe actions, either the screen reader will ignore your swipe action or your swipe action will break the screen reader. Ensure all functionality uses a click action 2.
  • Don’t open a new browser tab or window without telling the user that’s what’s going to happen. Otherwise they can become disoriented.

Own voices

What people with blindness say about themselves.


Additional resources

  1. Dos and don’ts on designing for accessibility by Karwai Pun at Gov.UK[][][][][][]
  2. Accessibility Fundamentals – Disabilities, Guidelines, and Laws at Deque University[][][][][][][][]
  3. How to design accessible mobile experiences for the blind by Ayesha Zafar on Willowtree[][][][]