In The Middle of A Pandemic, COVID-19 Information Remains Inaccessible to Visually Impaired People

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Curated by: Small Business Management

In unprecedented situations such as the global COVID-19 health crisis, being able to access quality information can be the difference between life and death.

In theory, people with visual impairments should be able to access the same information as our sighted peers using assistive technology. But for the more than 285 million people with some kind of visual disability worldwide, accessibility is still a huge, unresolved problem: “Accessibility is an area that does not matter much to people today. Let’s just say it doesn’t attract attention,” says José Manuel Delicado, a tech accessibility consultant.

From official government channels to international newspapers, accessibility barriers — ranging from information embedded in images to videos with no descriptions — are present even on those sites we rely on most to inform us.

Avoidable Barriers

The main function of assistive technologies used by people with visual disabilities is to allow us to access digital content in the same way as a sighted person. Screen readers, used by those with severe visual impairments, are applications that are able to transmit much of what is on the screen through a voice synthesizer.

However, not everything on the screen can be interpreted by these programs, as

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