ICT ASSISTIVE TECHNOLOGY FOR THE BLIND AND VISUALLY IMPAIRED PERSONS

ICT ASSISTIVE TECHNOLOGY FOR THE BLIND AND VISUALLY IMPAIRED PERSONS

ABSTRACT

This study sought to understand the role of the Internet in information provision, within the context of other sources of information and everyday information needs. The study also presents findings about the current ways in which people who are blind and visually impaired find information for their everyday lives; the role of the Internet in this process; barriers to using computers and the assistive technologies. A system was designed and created using Visual Basic studio15 to show how information and communication has influenced the blind positively and to eliminate the digital gap. People with disabilities, and in particular people who are blind or vision impaired, are not embracing computing, Internet-related and assistive technologies at the same rate as the able-bodied population.  The purpose of this study was to find the reasons behind this digital divide for people with disabilities and provide solutions.  The investigation into this ‘disability divide’ initially examined the historical significance of the social construction of disability, the developments of computing and Internet-related technologies and the evolution of associated government and corporate policies.  In order to gain an understanding of the specific elements in the current disability divide, interviews were conducted with a range of government representatives, multinational information technology developers and online information providers in Nigeria. In order to gain an understanding of what people with disabilities required from information technology, a survey was conducted with people who are blind or vision impaired to determine their computing and Internet experiences.  This study clearly identified that people with vision disabilities have a high level of computing and Internet expertise and it is specific barriers or disadvantages, rather than lack of will, that has prevented access to computing and available assistive technologies.