Skip navigation and go to main content
Web Accessibility Tutorial

Disability Groups

What Is It Like to Access the Web With a Disability?


Blind users of the Web typically use software called screen readers to read the contents of a Web page out loud. JAWS, from Freedom Scientific, is the screen reader available to students here at SCC. JAWS allows individuals to navigate the computer operating system, in addition to reading text-based information on the Internet. Accessible Web content is especially important for JAWS users.

Assignment: Ever wonder how a blind person will "see" your Web page? Listen to this audio simulation of a screen reader interpreting an accessible and an inaccessible Web page.

Low Vision

Low vision users will also use JAWS if the computer monitor strains their eyes. Screen magnification software, such as ZoomText from Ai Squared, is commonly used to enlarge and enhance everything on the screen, making applications easy to see and use. Magnification levels range from 1x to 16x the normal screen resolution.

Assignment: Experience the Web with a variety of visual impairments. View WebAIM's low vision simulation.

Mobility Impairments

Mobility Impaired users typically rely on the keyboard or other specialized hardware/software (instead of the mouse) to navigate Web pages. The Tab and Enter keys are often used instead of the mouse. Voice recognition software, such as Dragon Naturally Speaking from Scansoft, may also be used to navigate the Web completely hands-free.

Assignment: What type of assistive technologies (AT) are people with mobility impairments using to access the Web? View WebAIM's summary of AT for mobility impairments.

Hearing Impairments

Hearing Impaired users generally will not use assistive technologies, but instead have a need for all auditory content to be converted into an accessible format. For example, video clips should be captioned and sound clips should have written transcripts.

Cognitive Impairments

Cognitively Impaired users who have dyslexia or other literacy difficulties may or may not use assistive technologies. Well-designed and user-friendly Web sites are especially important to these users. Kurzweil 3000, from Kurzweil Educational Systems, is a program that allows users to simultaneously view and listen to Web content read aloud to them.


Other groups requiring accessible content include people with seizure disorders and color blindness.

Optional Reading:

Learn more about the most commonly used assistive technologies at SCC:

JAWS - screen reader for the visually impaired
ZoomText - screen enlarger for the visually impaired
Dragon Naturally Speaking - voice regonition software for the mobility impaired
Kurzweil 3000 - reading tool for people with learning disabilities

If you are interested in trying out this software on campus, email Liz Johnson or drop by the Assistive Technology Lab, located in room A2.

>> Continue to the next section: The Laws


Updated 7/06/2006
Sacramento City College