What must a visually impaired user know to surf on the Internet?

Blind and visually impaired users apply special techniques to use the web in a sensible way. As well as everything, every other surfer needs to know, many visually impaired must also apply screen reader and / or screen magnifier functionality. In the UUC project, the first version of necessary basic skills for visually impaired users of computer technical aids is now complete.

Story by: Morten Tollefsen - 09.02.2010

If you are using synthetic speech you hear one word at a time. If you are reading Braille you may be able to read two or three characters at a time. If you are using a large zoom you might not see more than a few characters at a time. With such small "windows" on the web, it is obviously necessary to develop specific strategies and techniques to be able to use the web in a sensible way! Screen magnifiers and screen readers have functionality that allows visually impaired users to work quickly if the sites are designed in the right way. Visually impaired users must learn this functionality and how to choose the best strategy to succeed. What is the reasonable minimum level of competence that will let visually impaired users use the web as fast as sighted users? This is precisely what we have attempted to define in the UUC project. Basic competence is defined by a standardized curriculum: module 7 of the ECDL.

The proposal now ready for review is based on:

  1. Literature search
  2. MediaLT’s experience of training of visually impaired
  3. Expert opinions (Norwegian and International)
  4. Workshop with users and experts

There are two documents: screen reader and screen magnifier. You will find both documents here: UUC documents.

Feedback is very welcome!

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