W4A 2010
Conference paper

Designing for auditory web access: Accessibility and cellphone users

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Low-end mobile phones are becoming generally available throughout the world and the main window onto the Web. A large constituency for Web access is being created whose experience Web designers are not familiar with, particularly because of the central role of auditory, rather than visual access. This is analogous to problems faced by visually impaired users, where again Web designers have an audience whose experience they rarely share. One might think that proven design practices of working directly with users or intermediaries would be effective, but we argue that in these situations they are difficult to apply, not least because of the distance geographically and culturally from the users. We therefore present alternative ways for developers to gain insight into the experience of auditory access. We also discuss the potential of tools and resources such as simulations of an auditory interaction with the Web and illustrate how these can help - - particularly with early stage design. Successful simulations can reduce the cost and effort needed to design a usable auditory Web experience, and as a bonus, the insights gained often improve a site for many other users as well. © 2010 ACM.