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Web accessibility: a review of research and initiatives

Craven, Jenny (2006) Web accessibility: a review of research and initiatives. [Conference or Workshop Item]

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Abstract

Digital technology provides the potential to widen access to information by allowing more people to access information in a format of their choice and from a location convenient to them. Despite this, technology can still present barriers; research has shown that people with disabilities are at most 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. Although assistive technologies can enable people with disabilities to ‘read’ online materials, unless these materials are designed in a way that can be interpreted by the assistive technologies, barriers to access will still exist. Accessible web design, ‘design for all’, or ‘universal access’ can remove these barriers and help to ensure as many users as possible can read and interact with websites, as well as ensure information can be interpreted by the technology used. A variety of methods are available to check web pages for accessibility and advice and guidelines on the subject of accessible web design are plentiful. However, studies show that despite a growing awareness of web accessibility issues, people are still experiencing barriers to access.

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