Increasing accessibility : how news websites can better serve people with visual disabilities
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[ACCESS RESTRICTED TO THE UNIVERSITY OF MISSOURI AT AUTHOR'S REQUEST.] The purpose of this qualitative study is to explore how people who are blind or have low vision prefer to get online news, the problems they face in doing so and how their online news-gathering experiences could be made better. It also investigates whether they believe they experience a gap in their knowledge of news as a result of their level of news access. Using semi-structured interviews and observation sessions with 14 mid-Missouri residents who are blind or have low vision, the researcher discovered that many do not regularly use traditional news websites, often because of accessibility or usability problems. Instead, they tend to get news through other online and offline platforms. Subjects overall said they do not think they experience a knowledge gap, although anecdotes and observations revealed some problems. The 14 interviews yielded a list of suggested improvements to online news delivery. These were supplemented with interviews with six professionals who offered more insight into those improvements. The population of people who are blind or have low vision is not small, and the people interviewed for this study showed that they are generally an interested, engaged news audience. However, little research has been done on how to deliver news in ways that serve them best. This study seeks to begin to fill that gap.
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