Accessibility of Technology: In Their Shoes

In this discussion activity, you will attempt to use the Internet via screen reader software and will compare/contrast this experience with using the Internet visually in order to analyze the way that technology has or has not lived up to the expectation of equalizing information-sharing.

Steps:

Review some of the leading screen-reader software available to individuals who are blind or low-vision today:

http://www.afb.org/prodmain.asp
Select a free screen reader program for your phone, tablet, or computer to use for this Activity:

http://www.readspeaker.com/
http://usabilitygeek.com/10-free-screen-reader-blind-visually-impaired-users/
Turning off your monitor, and using only the screen reader program and your speakers, navigate to your top 5 favorite websites and attempt to use each, noting your experience as you go. Keep track of missed links, content that does not work with the screen reader, and any difficulties you encounter.

Make one of your visits to a website with a lot of video content – could you access the video with the screen reader?
Try to access a website to which you have never been before – keep similar notes.
Then, access a disability organization’s website – any of your choice, but several are listed here:
www.aapd.com
www.afb.org
http://www.unitedspinal.org/
http://ncil.org/
Analyze your experience with each website and respond to the following questions:

Did you notice differences in the websites?
What did you find frustrating about this activity?
What would you recommend to make this experience easier?
Do you think that you would have an easier time navigating with a screen reader program if you had more experience using it, or were there other factors?
How does this activity alter your perspective on the experience of the visually impaired and those with other physical impairments that make technology use a challenge?

Sample Solution

ACED ESSAYS