Developing a Diverse World
For something to be considered perceivable, a diverse group, regardless of handicap or disability, must have equal opportunities to access an object’s information. According to the WCAG, this means incorporating characteristics like text alternatives, time-based media, and distinguishability. Unfortunately, there are certain websites, like Georgia Tech’s Office of International Education, that are not perceivable. Because the most efficient method for distributing information is not accommodating, for blind and visually impaired users in particular, access is rendered exclusive.
As previously stated, the website is not completely perceivable for the visually disabled. The website does, however, contain some graphics with alternative text for screen readers to display information. It also provides some information with videos, detailing the benefits of attending Georgia Tech as an international student, and study abroad scholarships. Nevertheless, a visually disabled individual’s inability to distinguish website sections makes navigation nearly impossible. Even if distinguishability were there, lack of alternative text and sound bites would not adequately provide information for the visually impaired.
This screen shot depicts both an alternative text example (Go Global @ GT) with its accompanying image, and a video on benefits for exchange students. These are some of the very few examples of aids for the visually impaired the site currently contains.
Saying that, there are steps that, if taken, would drastically improve the OIE website’s perceivability. The addition of spearcons to the website’s directory bar would aid in the distinguishability of said major sections. In regard to the individual web pages, one could incorporate alternative text to be stated aloud when the cursor moved over a particular section. More sound bites could also be added to display the information for those who otherwise cannot read it.
“Serving the … diverse population …,” is one of the Georgia Tech OIE’s priorities in their mission statement. However, the office does not succeed in this regard through not accounting for the visually disabled. If they wish to uphold their purpose, they must account for this group.