Websites were originally conceived for a text -based interface, but very early (from MOSAIC on) they became the epitome of graphic interface applications. A Web page is inherently complex since it simultaneously conveys pieces of content and relationships among them, “links” to other pages, etc. If the core of the communication lies in the content, a lot of additional but often fundamental semantics comes from visual features: i.e. layout, colors, fonts, spatial relationships, positioning within the page, etc. In addition, in modern Web applications, a large portion of the content is visual (e.g. pictures, graphics), or based on visual perception (e.g. tables, diagrams, etc.). Accessing the Web, for users with disabilities, can be difficult or even very difficult in many senses. In this paper we address the issue of accessibility for a specific type of disability, i.e. blindness. The most useful technology devised for blind users is based upon “ screenreaders”, i.e. software tools that “read” pages aloud. The W3C consortium, through the WAI initiative, has taken the step of providing guidelines, in order to tell developers what they should (or should not) do in order to build “readable” pages. The main thesis of this paper is that the W3C guidelines only guarantee “technical readability”, i.e. the very fact that screenreaders can work; they do not ensure at all the fact that the a Website is “accessible” by blind users, in the sense that blind users can effectively access it. For this reason we advocate “usable accessibility”, ensuring an effective user experience, as apposed to “technical accessibility”, that is the main concern of W3C guidelines. In the paper we present some empirical solutions, toward usable accessibility, that we have devised for a specific site (www.munchundberlin.org ) and also a more long term approach (WED – WEb as Dialog), based upon linguistic research and on the assumption that a Web experience can be treated as a kind of dialog between a user and a machine, and therefore compared (in terms of quality and effectiveness) to a dialogue between the same user and another human being (the curator of the exhibition, for example). This research was partially funded by the Swiss National Fund (contract FNRS 105211-102061/1) and by Culture2000 (project HELP), a research program of the European Commission.

“Usable Accessibility” to the Web for blind Users

DI BLAS, NICOLETTA;PAOLINI, PAOLO;SPERONI, MARCO ACHILLE
2004-01-01

Abstract

Websites were originally conceived for a text -based interface, but very early (from MOSAIC on) they became the epitome of graphic interface applications. A Web page is inherently complex since it simultaneously conveys pieces of content and relationships among them, “links” to other pages, etc. If the core of the communication lies in the content, a lot of additional but often fundamental semantics comes from visual features: i.e. layout, colors, fonts, spatial relationships, positioning within the page, etc. In addition, in modern Web applications, a large portion of the content is visual (e.g. pictures, graphics), or based on visual perception (e.g. tables, diagrams, etc.). Accessing the Web, for users with disabilities, can be difficult or even very difficult in many senses. In this paper we address the issue of accessibility for a specific type of disability, i.e. blindness. The most useful technology devised for blind users is based upon “ screenreaders”, i.e. software tools that “read” pages aloud. The W3C consortium, through the WAI initiative, has taken the step of providing guidelines, in order to tell developers what they should (or should not) do in order to build “readable” pages. The main thesis of this paper is that the W3C guidelines only guarantee “technical readability”, i.e. the very fact that screenreaders can work; they do not ensure at all the fact that the a Website is “accessible” by blind users, in the sense that blind users can effectively access it. For this reason we advocate “usable accessibility”, ensuring an effective user experience, as apposed to “technical accessibility”, that is the main concern of W3C guidelines. In the paper we present some empirical solutions, toward usable accessibility, that we have devised for a specific site (www.munchundberlin.org ) and also a more long term approach (WED – WEb as Dialog), based upon linguistic research and on the assumption that a Web experience can be treated as a kind of dialog between a user and a machine, and therefore compared (in terms of quality and effectiveness) to a dialogue between the same user and another human being (the curator of the exhibition, for example). This research was partially funded by the Swiss National Fund (contract FNRS 105211-102061/1) and by Culture2000 (project HELP), a research program of the European Commission.
Proceedings of 8th ERCIM Workshop: User Interfaces for All
Accessibility; Design; Dialogue strategy; Human-machine dialogue; Interactive applications; World Wide Web
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: https://hdl.handle.net/11311/253912
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