Due to constraints in various browsers and multimedia players people can experience difficulty using the World Wide Web. This is particularly true for people with disabilities who use assistive technologies that can be even more restricted in accessing Web content. This can have greater consequences, such as inaccessible education and lack of access to information in general. Also, access to Web content is sometimes more critical for people with disabilities who can make use of particular digital media only because they are print-disabled. Finally, Web sites created accessible are more usable to non-disabled users as they are more easily navigable and can be used by non-graphical desktop browsers. Particularly affected people with disabilities are visually impaired (blind, short or long sighted, colour blind, tunnel vision sufferers), dyslexic, and people with motor disabilities who are not able to use a mouse. One of disabilities that are most likely to affect Web access is visual impairment. Visually impaired users have difficulties with pages having images without alternative text, especially if images are used as links (as are in image maps). Other common problems are: using structural elements for page layout (using heading mark-ups for making things written in bigger or different type-face), non-described multimedia (no alternative text for sounds and videos), non-existent alternative for finding pages by browsers unable to render frames and scripting languages, non-described tables, poor colour contrast and badly chosen colours for colour blind users. As libraries are intended to provide equal access to information for all, our intention was to determine to what extent Croatian public libraries really ensure access to content provided on their Web pages. To that purpose, W3C’s Web Content Accessibility Guidelines 1.0 have been used to compare the sites with the recommended guidelines. Libraries should provide accessible Web sites, as well as promote Web content accessibility in the community.
2002. Vol. 8
Libraries in the digital age, Dubrovnik, May 21-26 2002 : Integrating information seeking and information services - practice and research