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Accessibility Center - AP


  Lead story (September/2002)

- Web Accessibility -

Building accessibility features such as sloping ramps, curb cuts, stair rails, or elevators... We can see them anywhere. So they are easy for everyone to understand. However in the World Wide Web, it seems people don't really understand Web accessibility for people with disabilities. Currently most Web sites are similar to a road with many bumps. These inaccessible roads cause complaints from the elderly, pregnant women, or people with wheelchairs, bicycles, or baby carriages. (Maybe the road builders think only young people are walkers.) For example, elderly people who have enough time and money will not be able to visit and enjoy shopping at your Web site if it's like a bumpy road.

IBM offers various assistive products such as Homepage Reader, which converts text messages to speech using speech synthesis technologies. Please try reading own Web pages using Homepage Reader. After installing, close your eyes and listen to the voice from the speaker of your PC. If you can hear only meaningful sentences, you are lucky. But unfortunately, when you hear only a URL address for an image, or cannot understand which words are a label or content, then you should take more time to consider the accessibility of your pages.

If you feel your site needs accessibility improvements, please refer to our Web guidelines page. You can get a lot of information about rationales, techniques, and testing methods to make your page more accessible. These ideas will also improve usability for everyone, with or without disabilities.


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