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Outreach update: BrailleNet seminar on May 3rd 2004

From: Sylvie Duchateau <sylvie.duchateau@snv.jussieu.fr>
Date: Fri, 07 May 2004 10:55:55 +0200
Message-Id: <>
To: EOWG <w3c-wai-eo@w3.org>

Hello all,
Last Monday, on May 3rd,  BrailleNet organised a seminar on the use of the 
Internet by people with disabilities: realities and needs.

Around 250 people attended the event. They were mainly web site designers, 
decision-makers from French public administrations, banking institutions 
and other companies. In the audience there were also many people from 
disability organisations, libraries and many others.

The morning was dedicated to a panel of users with different disabilities 
explaining what was their use of the Internet, showing the technology they 
used to browse on Web sites, and explaining what problems they encounter.
8 people were invited to show how they use the Web:
One blind user of Jaws (former user of linux and lynx)
One partially sighted user of Zoomtext plus Jaws.
One deaf user using MSN to communicate with us;
One elderly user explaining the difficulties he had with computer language 
on the Internet
One professor working with aging disabled people
One quadriplegic user using head tracking to click the mouse.
One user using a trackball with her chin and holding a stick to type on the 
One user browsing with his voice (dragon naturally speaking).

All users agreed to say that Internet is providing them new possibilities: 
access to books, newspapers, programs of museum, radio channels, 
supermarket, job search, and for all of them possibility to comunicate with 
other people.
People with visual impairments were the users who had most difficulties 
with inaccessible Web sites.
The deaf user had difficulties with Web sites that were written in a 
complex language and she welcomed the use of simple graphics to illustrate 
information. She also complained about the forms that made it mandatory to 
enter a phone number, as she cannot use a phone.

The three people with physical disabilities did not have major problems on 
the Internet. The user who browsed with the trackball explained she had 
diffficulties when pages were too long and would be glad to find more Web 
sites with links to jump to the top of the page.

During the afternoon, Jon Dodd from Bunnyfoot showed videos making clear 
that it is necessary to have Web sites tested by different users in order 
to be sure that sites are accessible and usable. There was also a report on 
the state of French public Web sites, and a report from the Websourds 
society that explained how they make Web sites accessible to deaf people in 
providing next to the text of the Web site a video showing a translation of 
the site content in sign language.
At last, there was a round table where general questions on accessibility 
of the computer for people with disabilities were discussed.

We tried to make this day accessible for everyone: that is everything was 
translatd into French sign language and typed on the screen. The demos were 
filmed and projected on a big screen so that everybody could see what was 

Received on Friday, 7 May 2004 04:56:10 UTC

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