Translating Museum Visual Contents into Descriptions for Blind Users: A Multidisciplinary Approach
Accessibility and usability guidelines are available to design web sites accessible to blind users. However, the actual usability of accessible web pages varies depending on the type of information the user is dealing with. Museum web sites, including specimens and hall descriptions, need specific requirements to allow vision-impaired users, who navigate using a screen reader, to access pieces of information that are mainly based on visual perception. Here we address a methodology to be applied for the proper creation and elaboration of alternative image descriptions in museum web pages. Such methodology has been applied to a gallery of the Museum of Natural History and Territory (University of Pisa). Such indications allow the user: (1) to address indexed contents and to link to information in more details, (2) to calibrate image descriptions (with a command providing alternative explanations for specimens), and (3) to access extra information for the blind (via hidden labels). A multidisciplinary approach is necessary to obtain effective and comprehensive descriptions. In this perspective, a cooperative environment is eventually proposed for team work facilitation.
KeywordsImage Description Alternative Description Early Hominid Screen Reader Blind User
The authors wish to thank Walter Landini and Elisabetta Palagi (director and curator of the vertebrate section, respectively) of the Museum of Natural History and Territory (University of Pisa): without them this work would not have been possible.
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