Accessibility of Interactive Television for Users with Low Vision: Learning from the Web

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Abstract

Contemporary developments in digital and interactive television in the UK are reviewed to assess their accessibility implications for viewer/users with low vision. Of particular significance is the likelihood of divergence between sectors of the population receiving digital television in an enhanced form through new broadband distribution (thin client) technology and those remaining with older broadcast set-top-box (thick client) technology, comprising proportionately more visually disabled viewers. With this second segment particularly in mind, and utilising findings from our previous research with visually disabled people, we examine the applicability of the W3C web accessibility guidelines to interactive television. We conclude that, while technical limitations may prevent their wholesale adoption, guidelines relating to the display of interactive features, and brightness and contrast may be directly interpreted for this medium, whilst other guidelines involving magnification and audio equivalence and feedback are highly relevant and should inform technical developments in set-top box functionality.