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 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
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.
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
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.
Learn more about the most commonly used
assistive technologies at SCC:
- screen reader for the visually impaired
- screen enlarger for the visually impaired
Naturally Speaking - voice regonition software for
the mobility impaired
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
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