Universal Site Accessibility: Barrier Free for All

Universal Site Accessibility: Barrier Free for All

Beth Archibald Tang (University of Virginia, USA)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-930708-18-1.ch015
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At least 15% of the American population has a disability (Kaye, 1998); some estimate it is as high as one in five. For research studies, the United States government usually defines the term disability as a limitation in a person’s major life activities during daily living, working, and attending school (Job Accommodation Network, 1992).1 Assistive technologies—the tools that help individuals complete their daily tasks—serve as adjuncts that help to bridge the gap between dependence and self-reliance. Webmasters2 have their tools, too. They use software that enhance the sites and make them interesting. While Web usability specialists place emphasis on completing tasks, the purpose of some Web sites may be more about evoking a “wow” response, and less about imparting information that visitors can use. On occasion, being able to access these Web pages requires that users go to a third-party Web site and download plug-ins to listen to an audio file, watch a video clip, or read downloaded documents. For people with disabilities, however, many of the Web sites inadvertently establish barriers that could be prevented.

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