ArticlePDF Available

Developing Online Community Accessibility Guidelines for Persons With Disabilities and Older Adults

Authors:

Abstract

As online communities have become an important means of social interaction and community participation, ensuring their universal accessibility is essential for social inclusion. Although accessibility standards have been developed to make information-oriented Web sites more inclusive to users with disabilities and older adults, similar efforts have not been devoted to accessibility standards tailored specifically for online communities that are primarily communication oriented. Existing guidelines for Web site accessibility can be used as the starting point in designing accessible online communities for persons with disabilities and older adults, and public policy needs to play a significant role in ensuring the accessibility of the Web 2.0 environment. To ensure full accessibility of the online environment, however, it is necessary to move beyond guidelines that focus on one-way transfer of information and to develop guidelines for multidirectional communication. This article explores the social, policy, and developmental issues of the accessibility of online communities.
... Although various strategies are suggested to promote the writing of texts or designing of web sites that are simplified and illustrated to be more comprehensible, notably for people with intellectual disabilities [13][14][15][16][17][18], there is little consensus on which standards to favor. Consequently, organizations that want to undertake a process to improve their population's access to information do not necessarily know how to proceed and do not always have the means and tools to do so. ...
... Consequently, designers must provide for an updating mechanism to make sure the information available remains relevant and accurate. Synchronous and asynchronous modalities refer mostly to the availability of digital information in real (synchronous) time, or to its permanence in non-real (asynchronous) time [14]. The asynchronous modality is to be favored in a perspective of access to information because it allows users to familiarize themselves with the information at their own pace. ...
... The accessibility dimension refers to the attainment of equal or equivalent access to information and communication for the various users [14]. The indicators of accessibility first include understandability, which encompasses readability and intelligibility of informational content in the form of written text [34]. ...
Article
Full-text available
Purpose Many citizens face situations where they have difficulty accessing and understanding information, particularly due to insufficient literacy skills. Although strategies have been proposed for improving comprehensibility of texts or web sites, there is no consensus on the standards to favor, nor is there any one single approach that addresses this issue. This article defines the expression “access to and understanding of information,” with the aim of guiding designers in their quest to develop inclusive information resources. Method A literature search was performed. The investigation led to the identification of elements that could serve as dimensions or indicators for the conceptualization of access to information. In a co-construction process, the co-authors compared these elements with the dimensions and indicators from Fougeyrollas et al.’s (2015, 2019) conceptualization of “access” in order to adjust and complement these so that they may apply in the context of access to information. Results First, the expression “access to and understanding of information” is clarified because it is not well defined in the scientific literature. Then, a theoretical conceptualization of access to information is proposed in order to clarify what this term encompasses; also elaborating on its dimensions and indicators and on ways to measure them. Conclusion This conceptualization stems from a literature search and a co-construction of the “access to information” concept. It is still evolving because we aim to enrich it in step with social, technological, and knowledge developments, with the objective of meeting users’ needs.
... Hence, the disabled must learn the skills to be at par with others without disabilities. Web site competencies depend solely on the disabled person concerned (Jaeger & Xie, 2009). Jaeger and Xie emphasize the importance for the Web sites to have specific requirement for persons with disabilities such as to be user-friendly with comprehensible text and information presented simply, using visual-based media, and the easy web navigator. ...
... Jaeger and Xie emphasize the importance for the Web sites to have specific requirement for persons with disabilities such as to be user-friendly with comprehensible text and information presented simply, using visual-based media, and the easy web navigator. The three most widely known guidelines are: (1) Section 508, (2) National Institute on Aging (NIA) and (3) World Wide Consortium's Web Accessibility Initiative (WAI) (Adam & Kreps, 2006;Croll, 2009;Jaeger & Xie, 2009). Section 508 and NIA focus on the U.S federal government agencies while WAI stresses on private center (Jaeger & Xie, 2009). ...
... The three most widely known guidelines are: (1) Section 508, (2) National Institute on Aging (NIA) and (3) World Wide Consortium's Web Accessibility Initiative (WAI) (Adam & Kreps, 2006;Croll, 2009;Jaeger & Xie, 2009). Section 508 and NIA focus on the U.S federal government agencies while WAI stresses on private center (Jaeger & Xie, 2009). NIA, which is tended for the elderly, are also suitable for people with disabilities. ...
Article
Full-text available
This study was an attempt to validate the Oral Communication Apprehension and Anxiety Questionnaire (OCAA) as a measure of communication apprehension and anxiety of Filipino students. Results of the construct, concurrent, and panel validity tests strongly suggest that the OCAA is a valid measure. Reliability test further showed an overall alpha rating of .95 which means that the measure is highly reliable. In addition, an important dimension of the measure called Verbal Fluency, could give teachers an important information about the anxiety students feel when speaking English as a second language. The eight dimensions of the OCAA, when analyzed separately, could be used to help identify specifically what caused the apprehension or anxiety. Another dimension to the OCAA is the information about when (before or during the speaking event) the apprehensions or anxieties actually occurred. This wide scope of analyses could help teachers identify their students' communication apprehension and anxieties and consequently help them find appropriate remedies.
... These barriers aside, Salmon (2013) found that self-exclusion is a valid strategy for generating friendly relationships [87], although for Jaeger & Xie, (2009) the key could be in online interactions [88]. On the other hand, for Giesbers et al. (2019), it is the natural support figures that play a more important role to facilitate and maintain close social relationships between people with intellectual disabilities [89]. ...
Article
Full-text available
Persons with disabilities have historically been subjected to discrimination and exclusion, placing them in dangerous situations of social vulnerability. The Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, passed on the 13th of December 2006, was an important legislative landmark for valuing the rights of this population group. This study involved a bibliometric analysis of 1024 research articles published in Scopus on the social, workplace, educational, and financial inclusion of persons with disabilities since the Convention. The results show an increase in scientific production, and there is also a great deal of multi-disciplinarity, which has led to important breakthroughs for the all-encompassing inclusion of this section of the population. The most productive journals, authors, institutions, and countries, as well as the international cooperation networks, are presented here. The review concludes by setting out the main themes and trends in the research.
... Without effective interventions, older adults are unlikely to avail themselves of health care technology's full potential (Fox & Duggan, 2013;Xie, 2008). Our prior research over the past decade provides ample evidence that older adults can learn to use new technology, particularly when they are provided with age-appropriate training and technology that is properly designed (Jaeger & Xie, 2009;Piper et al., 2009;Xie, 2008Xie, , 2011aXie, Yeh, at al., 2012). Still, exactly what constitutes such training and design remains understudied, as does how such training and design can be developed and implemented. ...
Article
eHealth literacy is the ability to access, assess, and use digital health information. This study compared the effects of a multimedia tutorial versus a paper-based control in improving older adults’ eHealth literacy from pre- to posttest. A total of 99 community-dwelling older adults (63–90 years old; mean = 73.09) participated from July 2019 to February 2020. Overall, knowledge about computer/Internet terms, eHealth literacy efficacy, knowledge about the quality of health information websites, and procedural skills in computer/Internet use improved significantly from pre- to posttest. No interaction effect was found between time and group. Participants in both groups had an overwhelmingly positive attitude toward training. Their attitudes toward training approached a statistically significant difference between the two conditions: F (1, 89) = 3.75, p = .056, partial η ² = .040, with the multimedia condition showing more positive attitudes. These findings have implications for designing effective eHealth literacy interventions for older adults.
... The consumption power of people with disabilities and the growing workforce with disabilities are additional motivators for companies to seriously and proactively make their WEB&APPs accessible as well (Babu et al., 2010;Jaeger and Xie, 2009;Loiacono et al., 2013;Shaewitz et al., 2018). According to the 2017 American Community Survey (ACS), 13.3% of the total population in the U.S. has a disability. ...
Article
This research aims to evaluate the level of accessibility knowledge by student website and app (WEB&APP) developers as well as the role of education in their perceptions and usage of accessibility guidelines. It proposes an integrative theoretical framework to understand the relationship among education, WEB&APP developer knowledge, and guideline usage. The present work with results of a multivariate analysis of variance (MANOVA) and an interview data analysis indicates that WEB&APP students have a low level of guideline familiarity and education plays an important role in their perceptions and usage of those guidelines. It emphasises the importance of accessibility guideline education, personal connection with people who have disabilities in the education process, need for empathy in accessible WEB&APP design and development, as well as business values of accessible WEB&APP.
Article
Digital technology, broadly defined as all the electronic tools, automatic systems, technological devices, and resources that generate, process, or store information in the form of binary code (Shah, Nogueras, Van Woerden, & Kiparoglou, 2019), has brought great changes to almost all aspects of human life. In particular, the development and the application of various digital technologies have great potential to facilitate successful aging by helping individuals effectively cope with different forms of age-related challenges, though an organizing framework is lacking from the literature. In this paper, we derive a taxonomy for understanding the impacts of digital technology on successful aging by considering the intersections between digital technology types and the age-related applied settings. Based on this taxonomy, we map different types of digital technology to different functions and successful aging outcomes in both non-work and work domains. We also discuss the implications of our taxonomy to research inquiries and practical applications.
Article
L’ère numérique donne de nouvelles possibilités pour offrir des communications accessibles et compréhensibles pour les personnes ayant de faibles compétences en littératie, incluant celles présentant une déficience intellectuelle. Or, les concepteurs d’information sont confrontés à plusieurs enjeux lorsqu’ils entreprennent un tel processus. Cet article aborde la démarche de la Science du design qu’une équipe de recherche interdisciplinaire a réalisée pour développer une information numérique sous la forme de capsules vidéos. Lors d’un groupe de discussion focalisé, les participants à la recherche ont identifié des facilitateurs et des obstacles rencontrés au cours de la démarche.
Article
This paper presents the co-design process of a digital tool that may prevent or alleviate feelings of loneliness in older adults. Six workshops were conducted with older adults (n=34) aged between 65-80 years old to investigate the role of technology in maintaining and establishing meaningful relationships. Participants’ contributions throughout the workshops were used to inform the design and development of a web-based loneliness intervention for older adults (ElderConnect). ElderConnect is a web-based application that supports older adults to identify, prevent, and alleviate feelings of loneliness by providing knowledge and strategies to initiate new social connections and maintain existing connections. Several challenges were identified while co-designing the application with older adults, and suggestions are provided in this paper to overcome such challenges. The study highlights how to include older adults’ concerns regarding technologies within an iterative co-design process, leading to an endorsed final product.
Article
Full-text available
This study aimed to measure the benefits of using the social media website as perceived by students with disabilities at the University of Jordan. The sample consisted of 150 students with disabilities and used a 5-point Likert scale to rank the perceived benefits on a 12-item survey. On average, the students indicated that using social media websites provided a moderate level of social benefits. In contrast, the students indicated that social media websites provided a high level of social benefit for increasing the number of new friends, deepening their relationship with others who have a disability or who are concerned with disabilities, and identifying societal attitudes toward disability and disability support services.
Article
Full-text available
This article reviews existing literature on older adults’ interactions with computers and the Internet, and proposes questions and directions for future gerontechnology research. The first section of this paper briefly reviews existing human factors research on older adults’ interactions with computers and the Internet. The next two sections review research on barriers to and aids of older adults’ learning and use of computers and the Internet, and older adults’ attitudes toward, perceptions, and general usage of computers and the Internet, respectively. The fourth section summarizes available research on older adults’ interactions in computerized community networks. Finally, based on existing literature on this topic and informed by general theories of the interdisciplinary field of science and technology studies (STS), the fifth section proposes new questions and directions for future gerontechnology research.
Article
Full-text available
The existence of a digital divide between old and young Americans has been well documented. It is usually defined as access or lack of access to the Internet. This study adds context to the understanding of the digital divide by demonstrating differenes in Internet connectedness, a multidimensional concept that includes consideration of the scope and intensity of the relationship that people develop with the Internet. Age is shown to be significantly associated not just with access, but with a tendency to pursue a more narrow range of personal goals online and with a pattern of connecting to the Internet from a smaller range of places. Nonetheless, older respondents evaluate the Internet to be as central to their lives as younger people do. Some support is offered for the idea that the digital divide is not merely a generational effect.
Article
This article examines policy issues related to disability law and the accessibility of the provision of federal electronic government (e-government) information and services. The article first discusses disability discrimination in relation to the on-line environment and examines the history of governmental attitudes toward disability that affect the current state of accessibility of the e-government. Detailing federal disability laws and policies that relate to e-government information and services, the article focuses on the potential impact of Section 508 of the Rehabilitation Act. By chronicling the problems with the implementation of Section 508, the article describes how a fully accessible e-government remains an elusive goal. Finally, the article offers a detailed set of policy suggestions that could be implemented by the federal government to work toward an egalitarian e-government that is fully inclusive of individuals with disabilities.
Article
This article assesses the preliminary impact of the Internet on civil society development in China. Based on survey data and in-depth case studies, three areas of impact are identified and analysed. First, with respect to China's public sphere, the social uses of the Internet have fostered public debate and problem articulation. The Internet has demonstrated the potential to play a supervisory role in Chinese politics. Second, the Internet has shaped social organizations by expanding old principles of association, facilitating the activities of existing organizations and creating a new associational form, the virtual community. Finally, the Internet has introduced new elements into the dynamics of protest. The article concludes after discussing the conditions and obstacles that influence the social uses of the Internet in China, cautioning against an overoptimistic view of the role of the Internet in civil society development while stressing the importance of the Internet as a new social phenomenon in China.
Article
Past research found a negative impact of Internet use on psychological well-being of young adults. This finding conflicted with the emerging literature on Internet use among older adults, which usually suggested positive effects. The goals of the current research were a) to examine age differences in psychological well-being, b) to study the impact of Internet use on psychological well-being of young and older adults, and c) to explore group differences between older Internet users and nonusers of psychological well-being and personal characteristics. Three hundred and ninety-six young and older adults completed a survey on internet use and psychological well-being. Young and older adults were found to differ on dimensions of psychological well-being. In addition, older Internet users were more positive than non-users concerning psychological well-being and personal characteristics.
Article
This article adds to the debate over whether easy access to the Internet is the only outcome of community computer network projects or if there are tangible impacts to these initiatives. Building from Putnam's links between quality of life, community involvement, and social capital, the authors provide evidence as to the quality-of-life implications of the community computer network known as the Blacksburg Electronic Village (BEV). The results of the longitudinal study indicate frequent and increasing use of the BEV and the Internet for local, social-capital-building activities. However, there is no trend toward an increase in community involvement or attachment except in a subset of the population that scores high on measures of preexisting community involvement. The results offer Putnam justification for his claims about the Internet's role in social capital formation.