Throughout the year, many friends and relatives enjoy sending greeting cards to celebrate holidays, birthdays, and other major milestones. One of the things that I have trouble explaining to relatives is that I have trouble seeing the lovely cards that they often send to me, or I need to use assistive technology to be able to recognize their handwriting. I definitely appreciate them thinking of me and sending a card, and over the years many of them have started sending me cards that are easier for me to see. Here are my tips for choosing greeting cards for visually impaired recipients for any occasion.
Choose color combinations that provide enough contrast
One time, my friend and I were in the greeting card aisle at the grocery store trying to pick out a card for a friend. My friend noticed that I had a lot of trouble trying to read the cards with light colored text on a light background- for example, lavender text on a white background. My favorite cards were the ones with dark lettering on a light background, or vice versa, since I could clearly see what they said.
- Colored Paper and the Readability of Text
- Tips For Creating Art For Visually Impaired Friends
- Seven Elements Of Accessible Store Layouts for Vision Impairment
Look for clear, easy-to-read fonts
The same day my friend and I were trying to pick out a card at the grocery store, I thought I found the perfect card and showed it to my friend. What I hadn’t noticed is that there was other writing on the card in a cursive/script font that I couldn’t read at all, and that drastically changed the message of the card and made it inappropriate for the occasion. While decorative fonts can be fun, many visually impaired recipients will prefer print text over script, since this is also easier to read with assistive technology.
- My Eight Favorite Free Fonts For Print Disabilities
- Eight Ways To Read Handwritten Cards With Assistive Technology
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Avoid flashing or flickering light effects if photosensitivity is a concern
I get migraines from strobing, flashing, and flickering lights, so people know to avoid sending me cards that have light effects in them since I am photosensitive. Almost all of my friends with low vision also have photosensitivity, so if this is a concern, avoid cards with flashing or flickering lights of any color, as these can be disorienting or cause an adverse medical effect.
If possible, find a card with raised or embossed details
I love being able to feel raised or embossed details on a greeting card, or different textures. These types of cards are great for people with low vision or dual media users who read both print and Braille. One of my friends says that they love getting cards with these raised details since they can feel the card for themselves instead of relying on image descriptions to figure out what the card looks like, and then they can read the message inside with the assistive technology of their choice.
- How To Create Tactile Images With Everyday Objects
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Purchase specialty large print or Braille cards
Many blind and low vision artists sell specialty large print or Braille greeting cards online. Hallmark also sells Braille cards, as do regional Lighthouses for the blind. They typically cost two to five dollars depending on the size and quantity ordered.
Use pens or markers to write inside the card
Two of my friends got me a graduation card for my high school graduation, and realized after buying it that I might have trouble reading the inside. So they used large point Sharpie markers to write a kind message on the inside of the card so that I could read their notes without having to use a magnification aid. Regardless of the writing utensil, make sure it can clearly be read against the background of the card, otherwise the recipient might not notice your message!
Have a way to secure items inside the card
Including items such as cash or a gift card inside of a greeting card? Make sure it can’t fall out easily, or put the item inside another small envelope or sleeve. One of my friends likes to tape gift cards or similar items on the back of the card so it is easy to feel.
Receiving greeting cards from dear friends and family is always a special thing, and I love to read their well-wishes. Even though I have a visual impairment, I’m never left out of the tradition of sending cards, and I’m glad that more people are learning how to select cards for blind and low vision people. I hope this post helps you select the perfect card!