According to the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C), “not all…disabilities affect access to the Web, but problems with vision, hearing, dexterity and short-term memory can have a significant impact on a person's ability to use online information and services.” For individuals with motor impairments, low vision or blindness, low hearing or deafness, and/or language or cognitive disabilities, assistive technologies or other accommodations can make it possible to access information online that would otherwise not be available to them.
Step 1: Motor Impairments and Disabilities
Despite the wide range of motor disabilities that might impact an individual's ability to use a computer and access the Internet, there are a few assistive technologies and devices that are frequently employed. Which device is most useful depends on the severity of the individual's disability, as well as their personal preference and what they find most helpful.
- For individuals with limited movement, tools like mouth sticks or headwands may be useful. Mouthsticks tend to be inexpensive as well as being easy to use for most individuals, making them quite common.
- These devices might be used in conjunction with adaptive keyboards, keyboard auto-completion software, or oversized ball mice.
- If movement is even more limited, individuals may chose to use eye-tracking software to allow them to control mouse movement by following the movement of their eyes, or voice recognition software.