As a frequent web user, we may take for granted how we access the information. Logging onto a computer and loading up google is like a reflex for us now, taking us only a few seconds. But what if it wasn’t that easy? Some people have difficulty accessing and using the web due to disabilities.
There are four different types of accessibility: visual impairment, mobility or dexterity impairment, auditory impairment, and cognitive impairment. Imagine having either of these disabilities and attempting to access the web.
- With a visual impairment, it would be difficult or even impossible to see the text and images on the screen. Images would mean nothing to you, and you couldn’t enjoy videos. Everything would have to be read out to you, and you’d need a keyboard with braille to navigate.
- With a mobility or dexterity impairment, you couldn’t use a regular keyboard and mouse. For example, if you were an amputee missing your arms, how would you type? how would you get surf the web? In this case, you could use a head and mouth wand which enables you to speak commands and have the actions shown on the computer screen.
- With an auditory impairment, you would be hard of hearing or deaf. So you wouldn’t be able to make out the happenings in audio-dominant videos. You would need subtitles on all videos you watch, an interpreter, or a transcript to read.
- With a cognitive impairment, you could have a range of learning disabilities or there could be a language barrier. When surfing the web, you would come across information that you couldn’t comprehend. People who fall within this bracket of disabilities are the hardest to accommodate because the spectrum is just too broad. But if it was only a language barrier, there are browser plug-ins along with online translators that you could use convert a foreign language characters into text that you could understand, and you can find versions of videos with subtitles.
As you can see, navigating the web with disabilities can be difficult. But with the right software and equipment, anyone can surf the web efficiently.