Falling on Blind Eyes

Word Squares with more text behind them

Word Squares with more text behind them


The website ‘Blacknegative’ uses many advanced graphics and video/ audio to communicate its ideas. However, many aspects of this website are not accessible for blind people. In order for the blind to use a website, it must have text to speech capabilities, but the graphics and videos on this website do not have descriptive text embedded, so there is no way for blind people to know what is going on. For example, the page pictured is a set of letters that change as they are scrolled over to reveal new information. Since there is no description of what the letters spell out, or the information behind them, there is no way for blind people to have any idea what is going on. WCAG (Web Content Accessibility Guidelines) have several Guidelines that relate to perceivablility. These include Text Equivalent, Time Based Media, Adaptable and Distinguishable. This website does not account for the Text Equivalent Guideline of WCAG because it does not have text alternatives to graphics. At times, the graphics or words are even indistinguishable from the background and the audio and video play automatically as you move onto the next page, which does not satisfy the Distinguishable Guideline of WCAG. Also, the layout is very complicated, and this can pose a problem for many screen readers in that they are not able to process the website properly, which is a problem with adaptability. Although this would not be a problem for blind people, music on the videos as well as the background music on the website itself did not have any visual indication or caption that there was music playing, which does not satisfy the Time Based Media Guideline. In order to improve the accessibility of this website, a play button should be added to turn the background music on and off. Also, descriptive tags should be added to the graphics so they can be read aloud by a text to speech interface. Finally, a more basic website should be created as an alternative so that the content can be interpreted more easily. By implementing these solutions, ‘Blacknegative’ can become much more user friendly, for those with disabilities.

BlackNegative: Not the Future of Website Design


(transcript at bottom)


(The greeting page of the website)


(Text that can’t be read by a standard text-to-speech program)


(Very difficult to read text on an image)


Black Negative attempts to change the way we experience websites by providing a very unique format vastly different from most sites today. It’s style of moving background imagery and use of slide rather than pages makes for a very artistic website. However, this does not translate well into the functionality of it.

Where this website ultimately fails is in its lack of Perceivability according to the WCAG guidelines. It fails the very first check: does the website have text alternatives to its non-text elements: The answer to that is no. Most of the images on the website have no captions at all or any links for an auditory description. One of the videos even goes as far to have speakers with no subtitles at all. It even affected me as they were speaking a foreign language. I imagine someone that has trouble seeing would not be able use the website at all. Especially since it includes lots of small text; some of which may not be readable by a text-to-speech program as it is interactive or dynamic in its nature. This website must be a nightmare for someone who is majorly visually impaired.

One way Black Negative could improve their website’s usability for visually impaired users is by adding those caption for their images so that they could be described audibly if needed. The same goes for any text that can’t be read by a standard text-to-speech program. The videos, especially, need some sort of settings icon to add subtitles so they can then be read out in the language of the user. One of the other main issues that needs to be addressed is the hard to see instructions on how to navigate the website. I barely noticed the controls icon at first so I doubt someone who is visually impaired would have better luck. These controls need to be made more clear as well as expanded to allow the use of arrow keys for easier navigation. Back Negative would be a much more accessible site if they would add these features, and they desperately need them.

Analysis with Robin Glefke: A Beautiful Horror



The Black Negative Homepage

The Black Negative Homepage: it is simply beautiful…but can you read the text, can you tell what the company does?



View the webpage HERE

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