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Optimizing web-accessibility for deaf people and the hearing impaired utilizing a sign language dictionary embedded in a browser

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Deaf people have certain problems navigating on the Internet. This is a subject, which has not received adequate scientific attention. Via an experiment with both deaf and hearing people, text was identified as a problem for deaf people when navigating on websites. A prototype of a website with an embedded sign language dictionary, which translates keywords to sign language, was developed and tested against the same website without the dictionary. This test revealed that deaf people who were given the sign language prototype completed a given task significantly faster than deaf people who were given the website without the dictionary. A final test showed that deaf and hearing people use the same number of metacognitive comprehension strategies when reading on websites, but the frequency of their usage was different. Deaf people make more use of a search and match strategy, which is a behavior this prototype supports.

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We would like to thank all of our test subjects, especially the people from Center for Døvblindhed og Høretab in Aalborg, Denmark. Furthermore, we would like to give a big thanks to Lene Schmidt for assisting us as a sign language interpreter and a very good discussion partner. Last, but not least, a big thanks to Associate Professor Lars Bo Larsen and Assistant Professor Christian Andersen from Aalborg University for guiding us and asking all the right questions.

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Correspondence to Søren Staal Jensen.

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Jensen, S.S., Øvad, T. Optimizing web-accessibility for deaf people and the hearing impaired utilizing a sign language dictionary embedded in a browser. Cogn Tech Work 18, 717–731 (2016).

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