WWW2009 EPrints

WEB 2.0: Blind to an Accessible New World

This item is a Paper in the User Interfaces and Mobile Web track.


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With the advent of Web 2.0 technologies, websites have evolved from static pages to dynamic, interactive Web-based applications with the ability to replicate common desktop functionality. However, for blind and visually impaired individuals who rely upon screen readers, Web 2.0 applications force them to adapt to an inaccessible use model. Many technologies, including WAIARIA, AJAX, and improved screen reader support, are rapidly evolving to improve this situation. However, simply combining them does not solve the problems of screen reader users. The main contributions of this paper are two models of interaction for screen reader users, for both traditional websites and Web 2.0 applications. Further contributions are a discussion of accessibility difficulties screen reader users encounter when interacting with Web 2.0 applications, a user workflow design model for improving Web 2.0 accessibility, and a set of design requirements for developers to ease the user's burden and increase accessibility. These models, accessibility difficulties, and design implications are based directly on responses and lessons learned from usability research focusing on Web 2.0 usage and screen reader users. Without the conscious effort of Web engineers and designers, most blind and visually impaired users will shy away from using new Web 2.0 technology in favor of desktop based applications.

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About this site

This website has been set up for WWW2009 by Christopher Gutteridge of the University of Southampton, using our EPrints software.


We (Southampton EPrints Project) intend to preserve the files and HTML pages of this site for many years, however we will turn it into flat files for long term preservation. This means that at some point in the months after the conference the search, metadata-export, JSON interface, OAI etc. will be disabled as we "fossilize" the site. Please plan accordingly. Feel free to ask nicely for us to keep the dynamic site online longer if there's a rally good (or cool) use for it... [this has now happened, this site is now static]