How able-bodied privilege affects policy:Case study on internet accessibility

One vital able-bodied privilege that has to be recognized and is absent in the checklists is the accessibility of print and online information. The right to information legislations don't cater to disabled people if the information is not present in accessible formats. Nor do sources of knowledge and information such as Wikipedia if they are designed entirely with the able-bodied and neurotypical person in mind. For the purpose of this learning module for Wikimedians, we will focus on internet accessibility.


The Centre for Internet and Society12, India lists assistive technologies that (based on specific impairments) ensure web accessibility.

  1. Visual impairment (People wh are blind, or have some degree of impaired sight, or low vision):
  2. Screen readers in mobile devices convert text into synthesized speech.
  3. Screen magnifiers can enable people with low vision to magnify a part of the screen.
  4. Tactile markers on keyboards aid on-screen navigation, and audible cues for alerts can support maintenance, e.g., for low battery.
  5. Hearing impairment (People wh are deaf, or hard of hearing):
  6. Subtitling technology for videos, now widely available, offers text information.
  7. Vibrating alerts in mobile devices
  8. Visual/ tactile cues in keyboards, such as blinking lights when a certain button has been pressedaptioning/ subtitles for videos are some of the support measures.
  9. Motor impairment (People who are amputees, or who have limitations in the use of their arms or legs, or some part thereof): Mtor-impaired people can navigate a keyboard via devices,such as
  10. A mouth stick, which is held in the mouth and used to type on the keyboard.
  11. A head wand, which is strapped to the head. The user moves their head to type.
  12. Switch13, especially people with extremely limited mobility or severe learning difficulties. Some examples of switches and their working can be viewed here:14
  13. Adaptive keyboards, which may have raised spaces in between keys or come equipped with word-completion technology.
  14. Cognitive impairment (People who have trouble remembering, learning new things, concentrating, or making decisions that affect their everyday life):
  15. Predictive text
  16. External prompting or reminders15

Web content accessibility

The Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG 2.0)16 state that web content must be (1) perceivable (2) operable (3) understandable and (4) robust.

Images can be made accessible by including descriptions. Software can be used to convey that decorative images should be skipped. All forms should have accurate labels that communicate the information to be filled out, for making them accessible to screen-reader users, who cannot guess this by the placement of tabs, etc., the way visual users do. Colour should be avoided as a tool to communicate informationbecause people with visual impairment find it difficult to differentiate between colours. In case the use of colour is necessary, high contrast colours should be used. Websites should be mostly navigable by keyboard to support people with motorimpairments.

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