How the blind experience the internet

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Wednesday, 8 June 2016 13:47pm

What is the internet like when you have a vision impairment? Chris Moury, who has rapidly declining vision, speaks about this topic on Control Z, a new ABC podcast by Yasmin Parry and Will Ockenden.

Laptop sitting open on a table next to a smartphone and notepad

Mr Moury has Stargardt macular degeneration, a genetic disorder that affects one in 10,000 people. He has roughly 3-5 years before he becomes legally blind.  He is dedicated to making sure that the internet world is a place that he can thrive, even after he becomes legally blind.

Mr Moury explains, “The scariest things for me is not being able to keep up with the work that I’m doing and the conversation, the broader internet community, so I’ve done everything that I can to make sure that I can continue to do that.”

Within the podcast, he speaks about the new and innovative methods of engaging with the online world, the use of screen-readers and developing his own voice-activated shopping app.

Dr Scott Hollier, MAA’s Digital Accessibility Director, said, “It’s great that people who are blind have so many choices as to how they access information and which device they use.  Most modern devices, whether it’s a Windows desktop, Android smartphone or iPad, include screen reader tools that provide text-to-speech as heard in the podcast.  The big challenge though is that in order for these technologies to work, websites and apps have to be created based on the Web Content Accessibility Guideline’s (WCAG) 2.0 standard.  This standard ensures that people with disabilities are not only able to purchase the device they need, but access the content they want.”

The internet is rapidly expanding and creating new opportunities. Making sure everyone is included in this has become a key focus for many providers of technology. An example of this is the new Voice Access Beta, a new voice-control accessibility service by Google that allows Android users to control all of the functionality of their device by voice alone.

Listen to the Control Z ‘Being Blind on the Internet’ podcast

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