An empirical investigation into the difficulties experienced by visually impaired Internet users

  • Emma Murphy
  • Ravi Kuber
  • Graham McAllister
  • Philip Strain
  • Wai Yu
Long Paper


In this paper, an empirical based study is described which has been conducted to gain a deeper understanding of the challenges faced by the visually impaired community when accessing the Web. The study, involving 30 blind and partially sighted computer users, has identified navigation strategies, perceptions of page layout and graphics using assistive devices such as screen readers. Analysis of the data has revealed that current assistive technologies impose navigational constraints and provide limited information on web page layout. Conveying additional spatial information could enhance the exploration process for visually impaired Internet users. It could also assist the process of collaboration between blind and sighted users when performing web-based tasks. The findings from the survey have informed the development of a non-visual interface, which uses the benefits of multimodal technologies to present spatial and navigational cues to the user.


Accessibility barriers Assistive technology Internet Multimodality Visually impaired 



This project is supported by Eduserv ( The authors would like to thank the 30 visually impaired participants who volunteered for the study.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2007

Authors and Affiliations

  • Emma Murphy
    • 1
  • Ravi Kuber
    • 1
  • Graham McAllister
    • 1
  • Philip Strain
    • 1
  • Wai Yu
    • 1
  1. 1.Queen’s University BelfastBelfastNorthern Ireland

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