Developing a Clear Vision

in Internet

Every year more and more people report different levels of vision loss. Although many cases do not lose complete sight there are various stages of vision impairment. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), the estimates show total of 161 million people worldwide that have some level of visual impairment.
In the United States alone there are approximately 20 million people who have reported significant vision loss. According to the National Center for Health Statistics (NCHS), a report published in 2006 states the number of Americans who experience vision impairment continues to grow and affect many in different age demographics.

With these disabilities alone, people in similar situations experience continued problems in other areas of everyday life. And with today's technological break throughs, many of these problems can be eliminated or lessened by putting forth more effort to include standards for the disabled.

Computer Usage:

In today's world business everyday is conducted with the use of computers and through the internet. For those people who are affected by visual impairments, business on a daily basis cannot be conducted due to many obvious reasons. Approximately 1.5 million Americans who are 15 years and older are visually impaired, have reported at least having the access to the Internet, and less than 1 million of those actually use a computer on a regular basis are.

Challenges of Accessibility:

With today's population moving more and more to the internet and the ecommerce functions that are available, accessibility has become an ever growing challenge. According to the American Foundation for the Blind (AFB), there is a 30% margin between the people who have disabilities and people who do not that use the internet regularly.

There is no easy solution for some accessibility problems, but until proper training for developers is made readily available a lot of these issues will remain unresolved.

Overcoming the Challenges:

These serious challenges are ones that with today's technology can be overcome and left in the past. Companies every year develop new and innovative technologies that offer people with various disabilities another chance at being successful in conducting everyday business.

Web Browsers and designers are often frustrated by the differences between the browsers and operating systems because they offer the users options to make changes that can affect the desired look of the web sites. By designing the website with more flexibility these issues can be worked through so your site can be read even when the end user alters the default settings.

Some companies today are developing add-ons for the main stream browsers to make the internet experience more user friendly for the visually impaired. Some of these add-ons include: Automated and Instant CAPTCHA image solving, built in help functions for easier page navigation and less confusion, and visually Impaired users benefit from features such as high contrast page viewing, link and focus highlighting.

Screen Readers are another solution to the web browser problem, screen readers read the web page then send the information to a speech synthesizer or directly to a Braille display. All of this is accomplished by using some of the popular web browsers. Even though the reader seems to be the easiest solution, keep in mind that the screen readers use the alt- tags of the images used in the web page. This requires double maintenance, because by changing the image the alt-tag also will have to be changed. This also comes into play when providing alternative languages. With all the other translations to be done on the page, the alt-tags also require to be translated for the screen readers to be functional in the alternate language.

With these developments, the visually impaired can be more productive in their daily lives and enjoy the many benefits of the internet technology. With the advancements of the software companies today, the industries surrounding e-commerce solutions such as e-shop providers, online payment providers, and even the vendors themselves can make the simple tasks such as surfing and shopping on the internet, so much easier and more practical.

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Dennis Gannon has 1 articles online

Dennis Michael Gannon

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Developing a Clear Vision

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This article was published on 2010/03/29