How do Blind People Tackle Online Visual Challenges

Reflecting on the 2020 Article “How Do Blind People Use the Internet? Difficulties and Tools to Help Them Out” written by Pixelplex regarding how blind people use the internet and the challenges that come with doing so.

Picture of Disabled women accessing the web

Most people don’t think twice about how and if blind people can utilize the internet. However, that stereotype is slowly being stripped away by the advancement of technology every year. How is it than that blind people can access and navigate the internet? To start, I myself am a blind person and I navigate the web using a screen reader that reads items out to me in a synthesized voice no matter where I go on or off the web. As the article states, these advances have it made it possible to send and receive emails, write on website domains, and so much more as examples. However, the issue lies not in the accessibility of the screen reading technology itself, but in how many sites don’t meet the accessibility guidelines to make them user friendly to people like me. This article mentions such issues as having unlabeled buttons that make it harder for me to know what to press or where to put content. Fortunately, there are work arounds to these remaining challenges such as making the sites more access compliant by labeling all buttons on a site or adding image descriptions to any and all photos or other visual media types.

Picture of Virtual Interview

I myself have run into many of these barriers specifically, and there is still a long way to go in ensuring that all sites are accessible in all aspects to all blind people. A huge example that illustrates this is my creation of the portfolio for this class where I had to get someone sighted to help e make sure that all of my visual aspects of the site were put in their proper places because at first the WordPress site had and still has accessibility challenges with adding items on to it due to its new updates. Such updates bring more harm than good to me because visual challenges are put into it that shouldn’t even exist. Navigating such challenges can be almost impossible because of the lack in auditory or Braille feedback I and others get from such platforms. During the Pandemic such challenges have become more noticeable as more and more people conduct business virtually. Hopefully in the next decade, such barriers can finally be resolved with better software or guidelines that can make visual navigation on the internet more user friendly.