Accessibility tips for Epilepsy

One of those challenging disability conditions is epilepsy. Epilepsy is one of humanity's oldest
recognized diseases, which affects roughly 50 million people worldwide (diagnosed in nearly 1
percent of the world's population). Each individual has his or her own story of what it is to live
with epilepsy. Some are fortunate enough to only have the occasional seizure while others live under
the constant threat of developing severe (status epilepticus) life-threatening seizures. And despite
increased research into the causes and treatments for epileptic seizures, many forms of epilepsy
can't be cured. The varying levels of severity of the disease mean that different individuals will
face very different challenges when accessing websites.

Online accessibility, on the other hand, is a concern for everyone but often doesn't get the
attention it deserves. Even when designers are aware of their users' needs, they can have trouble
implementing those needs into their work.

Here, we'll go over some tips and tricks for making your site or app more accessible to someone with


Consider the following things when you're thinking about the aesthetics of your website or app:

  • Make sure not to use too many colors or patterns. While having color in your design is important,
    remember that too much can be overwhelming for someone with epilepsy. Try to keep your color
    palette (and a number of colors) simple and consistent throughout the design.

  • Use complementary colors in your color palette to create a soothing, balanced look without being
    overpowering—like how blue and orange, if used consistently and carefully, can create a calming
    visual experience.


Make sure that all buttons are clearly labeled and that links are clearly formatted so they're easy
to distinguish from regular text. This will not only make your site more accessible for people with
vision problems, but also for people who rely on assistive technology like screen readers to
navigate your site!

For instance, instead of "click here," a link should say something like "read our most recent blog
post here."

Contrast and color

Lighting can have a huge effect on your ability to read something, whether you have epilepsy or not.
It's important to make sure you have enough light to be able to see easily, but not too much. On top
of that, you want to make sure there's a good amount of contrast between the background color and
the text color. For example, if your background is white, the text should be black. If the
background is black, the text should be white. This is because it takes longer for our eyes to
process colors when they're similar, so it's easier for us to see when they're very different from
each other.


When it comes to readability, epilepsy has some unique challenges. Some people with epilepsy can't
read in patterns or on a white background, for example. Others have trouble reading when the text is
too close together. It's important to find out what your friend needs. They might be able to tell
you what colors and fonts are easiest for them to read. Additionally, you can make sure that you
don't write more than one idea into a single sentence. This way your sentences are easier to parse.
Finally, try using bullets or numbered lists whenever possible so that your content isn't


Another important consideration for people with epilepsy is navigation. The most important thing you
can do here is to keep your layout consistent from page to page so that it's easy for readers to
understand how to navigate your site. You should also use clear headings and subheadings so that
readers can scan through the piece quickly if they want to find something specific. Finally, make
sure that links are easy to identify by using colors that stand out from other elements on the page
(e.g., red text surrounded by blue background).

Movement, Flash, and Animation

While having a little bit of movement on your site can communicate information to the user—like
highlighting a button that you want them to click—too much can cause seizures for people with
photosensitive epilepsy (A type of epilepsy in which flickering or flashing light (natural or
artificial), overexposure to video games, high contrast patterns like stripes or checks that can
trigger seizures).

Using blinking or flashing elements is another no-no for the same reason, so make sure that nothing
on your site blinks more than three times per second! Also, if your site uses moving content that
isn't essential to the user experience, make sure you offer a way for users to turn it off.

Status Messages

And finally, status messages or “toast messages” shouldn't flash more than once per second. This can
also cause seizures for people with photosensitive epilepsy. They pop up and then fade away after a
little bit of time. You should include options for people with epilepsy to disable them!

Final thoughts

We've tried to lay out everything you can do to make your site accessible for people with
epilepsy—no matter the level of complexity. Ultimately, accessibility isn't something that you can
"set and forget," but it's an ongoing process that needs your attention and consideration. You never
know how much difference your small efforts could make to someone else's enjoyment of the web.

There are a lot of myths and misconceptions surrounding epilepsy, and even more when it comes to
living with the condition. It's easy to fall into base assumptions about what an epilepsy sufferer
can do, or can't do. But if we take a minute to see things from their perspective, we may be
surprised at how much there is to gain for us all.

One last thing. Here at Helperbird, we dedicate our time to making your browsing experience as
smooth as possible. If you find that some of the web features are a bit too stimulating, our “Hide
Image” feature tool helps remove potentially harmful and distracting photos, gifs, and flashing
images from web pages. It is a tool designed for Epileptic and highly sensitive users when using the