Many of today’s modern technologies have made way for advancements in the way we communicate, but not all users have the ability to fully participate in these new communication channels. For individuals with disabilities, accessing digital information is still problematic. Government agencies, advocacy groups, and businesses are working to improve accessibility for all web users, including those with visual, auditory, or mobility impairments.
In the context of the web conferencing user experience, three categories of disability call for specific attention: visual, auditory, and mobility.
There are three major types of visual disabilities that can affect users: blindness, low vision, and color blindness.
A person who is blind usually precluded from using a mouse or point device because of the hand-eye coordination required for effective operation. A person who is blind is also likely to use a screen reader. People with low vision might use a screen reader to enlarge text.
There are two major auditory disabilities: deafness and hard of hearing
Hearing impairments make it difficult or impossible for individuals to respond to audible cues, such as sound alerts or audible indicators. Visual representations of auditory information and translation of audio information into a visual format are required for people affected by hearing impairments.
Impaired mobility can arise from neurological disorders, repetitive stress or other physical injury, or degenerative diseases.
Mobility or dexterity impairments often limit a person’s movement or fine-motor skills. They can affect the ability to type and use a mouse or pointing device. People suffering from mobility impairments might use alternate input devices for interacting with their computer, such as voice-dictation software.
Accessibility is not just a requirement mandated by national and international organizations. It is a process of making software more available to all users who wish to do so. While there are features that take web meetings and conferences a step forward, there are still improvements that need to be made before the problems are completely solved. Although, we as a society live in an advanced technological age, the technology we use is well on its way to becoming accessible by all users.