The assistive technology used by blind computer users is the most dependent on web design. Consequently, this site is mostly devoted to accommodating blind computer users. Blind computer users use technology that reads the screen to them. And while this technology is extremely sophisticated, it still has limitations. With regard to the web, these limitations may either be eliminated or turned into impassable barriers depending on page design.
Most low-vision access issues can be handled on the client side. An accessible web page should allow the low-vision user to select fonts, colors and backgrounds. Avoid forcing such design elements on the browser.
Most mobility related access issues can be handled on the client side. Do consider anything involving the duration an object or page remains on the screen and may require user input. For example, when a page is moved and the old URL appears for a few seconds and then moves automatically to the new URL. A user with mobility limitations may find it difficult to use the "back" button to pass through such a timed event.
As more and more information is transmitted as sound from the web, the more a standard for access will need to be developed. Clearly, the existing closed caption model from television will be a starting place. CPB/WGBH National Center for Accessible Media (NCAM) is doing considerable research in this area.
Designing Web Accessibility at the
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This site is maintained by James Bailey, the university's Adaptive Technology Access Advisor. Updated: 12/04