Web Accessibility: How Improving Online Communication for the Blind Aids Businesses

Web Accessibility: How Improving Online Communication for the Blind Aids Businesses

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Many businesses are struggling in today’s sluggish economy. According to ShopperTrak’s National Retail Sales Estimate, total retail sales for Christmas week 2010 were down 4.1 percent and foot traffic in brick-and-mortar stores fell 6.1 percent. To increase sales, companies must look for new marketing ideas and revenue streams. Web advertising and the creation of online storefronts— ‘click-and-mortar’ stores versus ‘brick-and-mortar’ stores—are two such ideas (Journal of Interactive Advertising 2002). To appeal to larger audiences, companies also want to target the massive “Baby Boomer” generation. Businesses can increase their Web presence effectively and efficiently by creating sites that appeal to the Baby Boomers as they age and to all visually impaired people. They do this by using Web accessibility.
The term visually impaired refers to people who report they have difficulty seeing even while wearing corrective lenses as well as those who are blind, according to the American Foundation of the Blind. The World Health Organization (WHO) divides vision into four categories: normal vision, moderate visual impairment, severe visual impairment, and blindness. Low vision refers to individuals who have “moderate visual impairment” and “severe visually impairment.” The low vision category includes legally blind individuals; the Braille Institute defines a legally blind person as someone who “central vision acuity” is 20/200 or less even with corrective lenses, such as glass or contact lenses. Low vision and blindness comprise the spectrum of visual impairment. The WHO states that globally glaucoma, cataracts, and “uncorrected refractive errors, such as myopia and astigmatism, are the major causes of visual impairment. According to Li...

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...30 April 2010. Web. 10 April 2011. .
Today's Road to e-Commerce and Global Trade: Internet Technology Reports. Internet Growth Statistics, n.d. Web. 10 April 2011. .
United States. Census Bureau. Americans With Disabilities: 2005. Washington: GPO, 2008. Print.
29 USC. Sec. 794d. 1998. Print.
US Web retail sales to reach $249 bln by '14-study. Reuters, 8 March 2010. Web. 7 April 2011. .
Vision Loss Rate Expected to Double as Boomers Age. SeniorLiving, n.d. Web. 8 April 2011. .
Visual impairment and blindness. World Health Organization, April 2011. Web. 6 April 2011. .

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Web Accessibility: How Improving Online Communication for the Blind Aids Businesses

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