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Web accessibility

Brophy, Peter and Craven, Jenny (2007) Web accessibility. Library trends, 55 (4). pp. 950-972. ISSN 0024-2594

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Abstract

The increasing provision of Web-based information resources has moved from a simple text interface to dynamic and interactive designs. While this move has provided people with a more creative and flexible experience, there are dangers that some people will be excluded because they cannot use standard methods of access. Research has shown that people with disabilities are most at risk of being excluded from access, and in particular people who are blind or visually impaired and who use assistive technologies such as screen readers. In a library environment, ensuring access for all is important because the method of delivery is predominantly Web-based and the development of e-book provision will provide increased opportunities to access library services remotely. This article reviews some key issues relating to Web accessibility, identifying methods of access, principles of accessibility and usability, and how Web accessibility can be assessed. Studies show that despite a growing awareness of Web accessibility issues, people are still experiencing barriers to access. Research initiatives identified in this article, and the development of the W3C WAI WCAG version 2.0, show that the research momentum is being maintained, and together with specific library-oriented research this can only be positive for the development of the profession's practice in this area

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