Vision Impairment and Electronic Government

Vision Impairment and Electronic Government

Reima Suomi (Turku School of Economics, Finland) and Irene Krebs (Brandenburgische Technische Universität, Germany)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-61692-814-8.ch013
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Abstract

Vision impaired are in a distinctive disadvantage when using computer screens based on visual presentation of data. Their situation becomes increasingly critical, as most society services, including issues such as eCommerce, eBusiness, eHealth, and eGovernment go on-line. Yet modern technologies can too offer solutions to their problems, both at hardware and software level, and often with reasonable cost. Effective ICT can open up new communication channels and functionalities for say totally blind people, that would not have been available for them otherwise. General sensitivity for this issue, and especially sensitivity among designers of governmental e-services must be developed. eGovernment is an especially demanding activity area as it comes to all sorts of imparities (not just vision impairment), as governmental services are often in a monopoly service delivery situation: citizen have to use them and there is often no other alternative. The issue binds it to the wider discussion on digital divide, where vision impairment is one cause for digital divide, and often very devastating, especially if still combined with other sources of digital divide.

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