To ensure it will translate the information correctly,.a number of pieces of equipment must be considered when designing a webpage. Blind users often utilize a synthetic speech synthesizer to vocalize the on-screen data. Blind people many also use a refreshable braille display (attached to their computer) to convert ASCII character streams into braille and then transfer it to a braille display.
Other devices used by blind and visually impaired individuals to access the web include: hard-copy Braille embossers, Braille translation programs (software that converts print into Braille), audible screen review programs, reading machines (devices that scan a printed page and translate text into spoken words), scanners, optical character recognition systems, refresh able Braille Displays, Braille note-taking devices, and raised-line drawing equipment.
Visually Impaired Users
The needs of people with low vision problems vary depending on how the eye condition affects their vision. Therefore, websites need to be flexible in design so that they can adjust the text and color settings to suit their needs.
For instance, many can read standard size text while others need enlarged text and use screen or software magnifiers to assist them in enlarging print. Highly contrasting colors aid many low vision readers while others can only read yellow text on a black background.
'Access technology,' which is installed in computer allows visually impaired individuals to read webpages. Synthesized speech software reads the content of webpages aloud and braille software outputs the text to a retractable braille display.
Making the Web Accessible for Blind and Visually Impaired
There are a number of groups and agencies, both public and private, working on web accessibility. The Rehabilitation Act Amendments of 1998 established a time line for incorporating access requirements into Federal procurements by August 2000. In addition, the Attorney General has established guidelines for agencies to conduct a self-evaluation of their electronic and information technology (4)
Also, the Center for Information Technology Accommodation (part of the Office of Information Technology at the General Services Administration) is addressing accessible web design by establishing an interagency working group focusing on Universal Access.
Also, the Web Accessibility Initiative (W3C) established by the World Wide Web Consortium has developed guidelines for accessibility: (5.)