Most communications today occur online, be it sending emails, processing payments, maintain schedule or communicating with people. If you are a professional who largely depends on the internet, navigating through new visual features is already considered familiar. But imagine doing all these with your eyes closed. This is exactly what the web seems like to the visually impaired users. It is important to remember that every day, millions of visually impaired people who use the internet face many problems.
Just like anyone else, the internet is essential to the blind community as it helps them with various activities like gathering knowledge, entertainment and what not. Also, the tasks that cut down the need of physically travel and inconvenience such as Online Shopping, Bill Payments etc can be indisposed to the community. But are these things easy? Are these accessible to them?
Gaining access to the internet for the visually impaired is frankly an expensive, tedious and litigious affair. The internet is primarily a vision mode of communication with few additional options for sound. So, this makes it very difficult for a blind person to navigate through the web comfortably. Although Screen Readers do make it easier for these individuals to learn what is displayed on the screen, but it isn’t easy. Screen Readers essentially do just that, read any content on the screen with an Audio or Braille Output.
Advanced version of Screen Readers are available today that decipher different types of content like Texts, Links, Pages, Photos etc.
Certain Screen Readers delineate the link between the internet and the visually impaired individuals.
The answer should be no, empathically!
While these options convert visual matter into something that is compatible with the blind individual, it isn’t sufficient.
The tools offered with Screen Readers are only efficient if the information found on the website is efficient. Websites without any accessibility features are not that compatible with Screen Readers which is again a major challenge for the visually impaired users to comprehend the information.
While the technology allows these users to be able to read any content, most of the websites today are not geared up towards accessibility to the blind community.
Adapting websites to the special needs of the visually impaired is often considered an afterthought, which makes it difficult to the users to access most sites with ease.
The difficulty level of accessing the web also depends on the severity of the visual impairment that can range from Color Blindness, Partial Blindness to Complete Blindness.
Making websites more accessible and compatible that in turn enhance the navigation and overall satisfaction of internet is a must. The needs of these people are extraordinary and a few steps can conclude better functionality of gadgets for them.
Narayan Seva Sansthan, is an Non- Profit that regularly works for the developmental innovation for by birth visually impaired children and is constantly taking efforts to incorporate a change in the way we pursue things for the Visually Impaired.
Narayan Seva Sansthan Seva Dham Seva Nagar, Hiran Magri, Sector -4, Udaipur (Rajasthan) - 313001 INDIA
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