Limitations of Web Accessibility
Many documents have been written about web accessibility. This is only appropriate as web accessibility covers a considerably large amount of topics. However, similar to any principle, web accessibility also has its set of limitations.
Here, we will try to point out those limitations in order for you to better understand web. Accessibility. It is important to note though that experts are presently working on these issues to address or improve them.
Screen readers and ARIA
Screen readers are software that enable blind and visually impaired people to use the computer. ARIA stands for Accessible Rich Internet Applications. This technology allows web developers to make their sites semantically richer for assistive technologies such as screen readers. ARIA does this by providing additional information for Web 2.0 elements such as buttons and combo boxes.
However, in order for people to enjoy the benefits of ARIA, they need to have a browser that supports it. Also, the screen reader should be able to interpret ARIA. Without any of these factors, the user would not be able to take advantage of ARIA.
CAPTCHA: Difficulty in Considering All Types of Disabilities
Despite all efforts of web developers and web accessibility experts, there is still no easy way to make websites accessible for all persons with disabilities. A good example of this is CAPTCHA. CAPTCHA stands for “Completely Automated Public Turing test to tell Computers and Humans Apart”. It is a type of test used in a website that prevents the automated use of that site. This normally consists of distorted numbers and letters which users have to enter in order for them to continue accessing certain features of a website.
Blind people cannot access CAPTCHA, so web developers created talking CAPTCHAS. Although this solution is good for the blind and visually impaired, deaf blind people still cannot access it. This is because talking CAPTCHAS cannot be accessed using Braille displays which are the main devices used by deaf blind people.
People who cannot move any of their body parts
You can make your website as accessible is it can be, but certain people still may not be able to access and use it. Examples of these groups are people who cannot use any of their body parts and are not able to speak. While it is a very small segment of society, it still does exist. Recently a technology was made more popular to help communicating with a computer only by using brain signals, but for the time being it has limited abilities. The first wll-known example of the use of this technology was the use of twitter with brain signals.
Assistive Technologies for Mobile Applications
Developers are constantly making mobile screen readers better. However, most users still prefer accessing the Internet through the use of Windows-based assistive technologies.
One of the reasons for this is the case of formatting, for example headings. Although headings make it easier to navigate websites, mobile screen readers do not announce them.
Apart from this, more and more mobile devices are now using touch screens. This poses a problem for those with motor disabilities. These people would not be able to access everything through the keyboard. This is not because the program does not allow it. Instead it is because the mobile device does not have the hardware features to support it.
Accessible PDF files and Mobile Phones
Another issue with mobile phones is that mobile screen readers do not read PDF files well. So, you can make a PDF file very accessible. You can test it in your computer to verify that it can be accessed properly. But if you try to read it in your mobile phone, you may still encounter accessibility issues.
Despite of the many limitations concerning web accessibility, all of us can still do our part in eliminating Internet-related barriers. However, not all applications can be made to work well for everyone. Our goal, therefore, is to make all websites and web-based applications work for as many individuals as possible.