Our daily life consists of using the Internet 24/7. We use it to access the news, shopping online, connecting with our friends via email or social networks, entertainment, and etc. We use the internet so often, that we never care to realize that other people who may not have the same abilities as we do also access the internet on a daily basis. Web Accessibility refers to the access to websites, for not only people of all abilities, but people of disabilities too. It is not something we usually think about, but if we do think about it, disabled people have many advantages to the Internet.
Before the Internet, for example, how did blind people read newspapers? It must have been very difficult to read a piece of paper when you can see nothing, Audiotapes and Braille printouts were considered very expensive at the time. As I learned in researching how disabled people use the Internet from our last report, I found out about “Screen Readers”. These software programs read electronic text out loud so that blind people can use computers and access any text content through the computer. Blind people simply plug in the screen reader into the computer, and it reads everything out loud for them. Other technologies used for web browsing for the blind include speech recognition that can accept spoken commands to the computer for those who have difficulty using the mouse or a keyboard. And screen magnification, that enlarges the display for those who can still see, but not too clearly.
Out of all the people that have disabilities, blind people are not the only people that have an advantage to using the Internet. For example, people with motor disabilities that cannot pick up a newspaper or turn its pages, can also access online newspapers through their computer. Parkinson’s disease, muscular dystrophy, cerebral palsy, and strokes are a few disabilities that are very common amongst our population today. This can be done either by using the old method of inserting a stick in...
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