Ravelry and accessibility: Tips to improve your Ravelry experience

(Last update was June 6 2021 5:23pm ET.)

If you're comfortable with doing so, please leave a comment on how effective or useless any of the following tips are, I would love to hear about it!
  • For those with difficulty concentrating (e.g. ADD/ADHD, autism, etc.): Try the Mercury Reader Chrome extension.
  • Dealing with the stark whiteness: 
    • There is a Chrome extension which lets you toggle in and out of a high-contrast mode. If you're having problems with Ravelry's new look, and use Chrome, please give this a try. There may be high contrast mode toggle extensions available for other browsers that you can search for, as well. Unfortunately, this is not a solution for everyone; one user on Instagram, who has eye conditions that make them photosensitive and blue light sensitive, said that they always have the dark mode extension on their devices, yet still can barely stand to look at the redesigned site for more than a few minutes. YMMV?
    • There is now a Chrome/Firefox extension called Readable Ravelry, which is described as "An extension to make Ravelry accessible for those sensitive to light by applying a low contrast colour scheme. This extension applies the Solarized Dark colour palette by Ethan Schoonover to Ravelry's new theme in order to make it accessible for those who cannot tolerate bright themes due to eye strain or other health conditions." Further details on this extension can be found on reddit.
    • Twitter user @PhoenixSquirrel shared what they do: they have colour inversion turned on at the browser level. However, they note that NuRav is still incredibly bright when inverted (halos around bright text), even using glasses that block stuff in other places. However, it's better when F.lux is set to night mode and deep yellow, although the tradeoff with that is that it makes everything else on the screen unreadable.
    • Twitter user @damselflystudio has glasses that go over her prescription specs, which have a coating and tint which blocks out most of the blue light. This helps her cope with bright lights. More info in this tweet.
  • Dealing with unreadable text: For some, readability can be improved by zooming in. I personally like the 125% setting.
  • Dealing with motion: Rav user castlemilk posted some tips for avoiding the migraine- and seizure-inducing bits. Rather than linking to her on-Rav post, I have copied and pasted her info here:
    • iDevice users: settings -> accessibility -> reduce motion (it's under the subheading "Motion" on iOs)
    • Mac users: choose the appropriate options as listed in this resource
    • Windows 10 users: Settings - Ease of Access - Display - Simplify and personalize Windows - set Show animations in Windows off (castlemilk hasn't been able to test this herself)
    • Android users: It sounds like it’s fairly hairy to set a "reduce motion" option on an android device but there is a Ravelry post explaining what might work for you. Here is the Ravelry post text, it's by user CathyWithaC using a Fire Tablet:
      • Under settings, look for something like device options and serial number at the bottom of that list. If it says Developer Options below that, that's what you want.
      • Otherwise, to get the Developer Options to pop up press 7 times on the serial number (after about 3 times you'll see it starts counting down, and after 7 the option will pop up). Honestly, I thought this was weird myself, but trust me I've done it twice now, on my fire tablet and on my Galaxy 7 phone.
      • Tap on Developer Options and scroll down (it's a ways) to the Drawing section and you will see 3 animation options, window animation scale, transitions animation scale and animator duration scale. Set all 3 of them to the first setting - animation is off.
      • I know it’s complicated but I hope it works
      • On my android phone it was Settings - About phone - Software information - Build number that I had to tap 7 times to get the developer options. In case that helps anyone else.
  • Getting rid of the new look altogether: 
    • Some users reported that using Internet Explorer somehow gives them a completely unchanged version of the site - it might be worth trying that. Unfortunately, as of March 26, this no longer appears to be the case, but you might want to try it anyway?
    • Twitter user @TNProgrammer has created browser extensions to fix the new colour theme:
    • Some Rav users have created Stylish themes for other people to use, which you can apparently overlay over websites to customize the CSS. Important note: One Rav user pointed out that there are are data privacy issues with Stylish and that Stylus is recommended as the replacement add-on "if you don't want your data trawled". Cascadea (for Safari on Mac) is another potential alternative.
      • EWM has created two themes (now on version 3.1, which includes changes to backgrounds, menus, text, and input boxes) which can be used with the following extensions: Stylish and Stylus (recommended) for Chrome, Firefox, and Kiwi Browser (Android) and Cascadea for Safari (Mac). Install the extension first and then go the install links below to use the Install Style button. You can also go back to the install links below to update your style when there are updates. She says, "The only things that can’t be helped are kindles and iOS devices."
        • Ravelry - Return to Subtle Greens: Returns Ravelry back to some of the visual softness that was in the prior version. Less contrast buttons as well as outlines and the return of the soft green.
        • Ravelry - Increased Font Size: Increases the text for readability. This comes at the cost of some layout issues but being able to read is much more important than the visuals of the site. Note that this only adjusts the font size. For the Classic look, you'll need to also have the "Ravelry - Return to Subtle Greens"  theme enabled.
      • ElaineT77 has made a Stylish add-on theme. She says it "lets me enjoy the new look & feel while avoiding a headache". Her instructions are as follows: The Userstyles.org website is slow and crash-prone so here is what you can copy/paste into Stylish"
    • A number of apps let you interact with Ravelry without actually being on Ravelry, and which seem to have a completely different visual interface than Ravelry. UPDATED: NOTE: I have not included apps which I have tried and discovered that they mimic or lift Ravelry's UX.
      • Ravit lets you search, manage parts of your notebook, and post on forums. Appears to be only for iOS devices.
      • Knitci allows full searching of patterns, yarn, and stashes; interaction with forums and private messages; and interaction with your notebook. Only for Android devices.
      • View and download library items
      • Alpaca lets you update your notebook and search for patterns, projects, yarn, and shops. Only for iOS devices.
      • Close Knit lets you keep up with friends' Ravelry activity. Only for iOS devices.
      • Wooly provides access to your Ravelry notebook. Appears to be only for iOS devices.
      • Ravulous lets you access your notebook, get notifications when you get new Ravelry messages and unread forum replies, and search for patterns and yarns. Only for Android devices. Unfortunately seems to have disappeared from the Google Play Store but still seems to be available from Amazon.
      • Pattrick seeks to provide easy searching of the Ravelry pattern database on your phone. Available on iOS and Android platforms, and there's a webapp version.


Erika said...

I just noticed today that Ravelry has a couple different native themes. The dark mode one was just announced and looks new, but it looks like a lower contrast one has been there for awhile. That might be enough to help some folks without needing an extra extension.

yarnstylist said...

Thank you so much for all of these tips and suggestions! I've been having terrible headaches and eyestrain since Ravelry removed the Classic version in March. I've added some Chrome extensions thanks to you that have helped.

Anonymous said...

Thank you so much for such an informative article, especially including the extensions for Readable Ravelry & Ravelry Accessibility Fix. I hope they will help me. I have Chronic Migraines (about 28-30 days per month) & the only thing I can do is knit (while flat on my back, head packed with ice, eyes closed & medicated to the gills!) Most days I can't get on the computer as it requires me sitting up.

Thanks again!