Web developers can adjust access to their websites to accommodate visual, hearing, physical, speech, and cognitive disabilities.
The Web Accessibility Initiative (WAI) has developed guidelines and techniques for private Web software and Web developers to accommodate individuals with disabilities.
Section 508 of the Rehabilitation Act requires Federal agencies provide software and web-based information accommodations for individuals with disabilities. This includes not only government employees, but the general public.
For speech impairment, Talk Back 12 is a device that uses four basic pictures on a keypad that, when pressed, communicate a word or phrase for the student.
For visual impairments, Kurzweil 1000 speaks text aloud for the student as well as allows the student to create and edit documents.
Assistive Technology Modifications to Websites Examples
Screen Readers are software that can be used by students with visual impairments. It reads the text on the screen and outputs it as audible speech or Braille.
Specialized keyboards or switches are used by students with physical disabilities. Modifications may include a smaller or larger key spacing, key guards, on-screen keyboards, or eye-gazing keyboards.
Scanning software is used by students with physical or cognitive impairments. It highlights or announces selection choices such as menus or links, one at a time. By hitting a switch, the desired item is selected by the student.
Assistive Technology Modifications to Software Applications Examples
Microsoft offers several programs to promote accessibility. Here are a few:
Word Prediction programs give students the opportunity to type one or two letters of a word to generate a list. The student can use the mouse or a switch to select the intended word.
Talking word processors give students the ability to use speech synthesizers to provide auditory feedback of what is typed.
The End… If you would like to check to see if a website complies with the accessibility guidelines, try http://bobby.watchfire.com/bobby/html/en/index.jsp