Browsers

Assistive Technology and Elders

When considering assistive computer technology for elders, three issues need to be addressed: how will they need to be accommodated, what technology exists to provide accommodations, and how can these technologies be presented so elders will use them.

How Do Elders Need To Be Accommodated?

For elders, disability exists on a continuum of severity. Some disabilities are a natural part of aging and are generally mild.  Other disabilities rise in incidence with age, and may be mild to severe. Finally, more people with mild to severe long-term disabilities are living well beyond retirement age.

Have a question?

Ask an Expert

Accessibility Considerations for Library Software

What Are the Problems?

Using a library now means using software: online resources, Internet workstations, and the library's own website and catalogue create a software-based experience for patrons and staff. Users may have trouble:

  • Seeing content on the monitor
  • Using the keyboard or mouse
  • Understanding complicated directions
  • Any of the other typical computer software barriers

These barriers may appear anywhere in your software environment:

  • Information resources, which provide information or point to information--e.g., journal articles or bibliographic databases.
  • Administrative software, which provides an interface between users and applications, and control computer usage from signin through providing alerts when a user's time is up.
  • Security systems, which are intended to prevent malicious use of software and reset the system and programs to their defaults between users. These may also be used by other types of public computer labs.

There are easy, inexpensive solutions for almost all of these problems.

Legal Obligations

The Americans with Disabilities Act, which covers public and private libraries and many other institutions, states that “No individual shall be discriminated against…in the full and equal enjoyment of …services…." Section 508 of the Rehabilitation Act, which covers some libraries, also requires accessible information technology.

Getting Started

The software used in your library should be as accessible as possible, and you can help move it in that direction without becoming an accessibility guru.  This article will go over some steps you can take:

  • Getting Close to Your Users
  • Your IT Staff
  • When You're in the Market
  • If You've Got Technical Resources

Getting Close to Your Users

Have a question?

Ask an Expert

Making Browsers More Accessible

Browsers are the software programs used to access the web, such as Internet Explorer, Firefox, Chrome, and Opera. All have accessibility features built in; you can add more features by downloading add-ons. This article covers what's available for each of these popular browsers.

Internet Explorer

Have a question?

Ask an Expert

Collection of Accessibility Plug-ins for Firefox Browser

Ken Saunders has put together a collection of 30 Firefox plug-ins that in one way or another aid in accessibility. Some simplify page layout, some improve visibility, and some evaluate accessibility itself.

Have a question?

Ask an Expert

Accessibility Extensions for Google Chrome

The Chrome browser from Google offers extensions you can install to enhance accessibility. Here are just a small sampling:

Have a question?

Ask an Expert

Word Prediction Tool for Filling Out Web Forms

Google has a new free tool called Scribe that help you fill out web forms by predicting the words you may want to enter.  Unlike other personalized word prediction tools, you cannot store your own suggestions -- Scribe uses Google's vast web database to make its guesses.  There's a bookmarklet that you can add to your browser.

Have a question?

Ask an Expert

Safari Reader Simplifies Web Pages

Reader is a feature in version 5 of the Safari browser that makes some Web pages less cluttered. Reader removes ads and other visually distracting elements. This makes pages  easier to understand for people with some cognitive disabilities, and may make pages work more efficiently with assistive technologies.

Have a question?

Ask an Expert

Syndicate content