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Accessibility for blind users: An innovative framework

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Abstract

Accessibility, i.e. the possibility for users with specific disabilities to access Web resources, has received specific attention by the W3C consortium that has produced guidelines for web developers. These guidelines are, mostly, technical recommendations and a few very generic tips about how to design for accessibility. The main thesis of this paper, which focuses on blind users, is that technical recommendations (as those of the W3C) are not sufficient to guarantee actual accessibility, that we define as the possibility for the users of "reading" the website and "navigating through it" in an effective manner. A consequence of our approach is the emphasis on design, as a way to achieve actual accessibility, and on usability (by blind users,) as the main evaluation criterion. The paper presents a framework, "AURA", which encompasses issues from design, to architecture, and proposes a solution for blind users based on reading strategies, i.e. a planned way of "listening to" web pages. © 2008 Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg.