The Barriers to and Benefits of Use of ICT for People with Visual Impairment


This paper reports results from a focus group interview and a field study, which includes 28 visually impaired PC users in Norway. The main goal of the study was to identify benefits of, and barriers to, use of ICT for the visually impaired, and to propose measures to remove barriers. The use of Internet services, mobile phones, kiosks, ticket machines, ATMs, and queuing management systems, were studied. Visually impaired users’ encounters with technology were investigated through a focus group interview, observation of task-solving activities, and semi-structured interviews. The analysis revealed that several commonly used ICT services, such as online banking, electronic forms, and learning material have major accessibility problems. The first barrier is often mechanisms for registration and authentication. The proliferation of inaccessible everyday technologies, unstable systems, and lack of training constitutes other major challenges. Based on the findings some suggestions for further development and research priorities are suggested.