Announcements and alerts: Impact on users

Error identification and suggestion

Manjot is dyslexic and also partially sighted due to cataracts. She can easily make mistakes when filling out online forms.

When Manjot makes a mistake, it is important that she is quickly able to understand that an error has occurred. She also needs the field which caused the error to be highlighted boldly enough so that she can see it, and it needs to be clear what she needs to do to fix the problem.

If any of these things are not clear, Manjot can get stuck and is unable to complete her task.

Status message

Sam has advanced macular degeneration and is almost completely blind. They can vaguely detect changes in light, so they are aware there is a screen in front of them, but they cannot see anything on it.

Sam uses a screen reader to navigate websites and relies heavily on being able to detect changes in state such as when errors have occurred and when there are new notifications to read.

Because they cannot see the usual visual icons like red dots and banners, it needs to be announced by the screen reader that there is a new piece of information or that a process such as uploading a document is now complete.

A particular challenge for Sam is that modern websites are often very dynamic. The content is often hidden in expandable sections and pop-up modals. If these are not announced by the screen reader, then they can miss out on important information.