25 March 2020
After a long time, I am writing again, this time about the topic of browsing the World Wide Web, and what difficulties we the blind and visually impaired face while searching for information online.
Many blind and partially sighted people use the World Wide Web. Although more and more websites are being adapted for us, there are still many that are not accessible to us. We also have difficulty accessing graphical information, such as images, tables, and graphs in image format.
When I use my computer and screen reader, I use JAWS and Chrome web browser, I struggle with the lacking of accessibility on most of the pages. Most often I have problems with pop-ups that screen reader cannot read it and I can't close it. Often, because of this box, I cannot access the information on the website. The biggest problem the blind are facing is access to image material, which is almost impossible through Google Chrome. Although Google has recently added a new image description feature that you can include with the shift + F10 key combination, it doesn't work well and doesn't describe many images. It also does not describe details and correlations between objects.
This was a huge problem for me, so I started using the Feelif web browser on my Feelif tablet, which provides descriptions of images from the Internet, as well as images that you take yourself. A new update to the Feelif browser app came this month, adding an even more useful gesture to access the images from the Internet. You can now access them by sliding with two fingers from the left edge of the screen to the right. The image is then opened in the Feelif Image Gallery application, where artificial intelligence recognizes the orientation of the image (vertically or horizontally) and tells you which objects and captions are in the image.
There are two ways to explore the image in the gallery. The first way is to feel the outline of each object in the image through vibration and sound. The second, for me, even better way is to feel different surfaces and colors with the help of different vibration strengths. As long as I keep my finger on each part of the image for a long time, the application tells me its color. Together, these two methods allow me to learn almost all information about a picture as a blind user: from correlations between objects, colors, shapes, to gain new knowledge.
Feelif's web browser and the device itself allow me a lot of autonomy in finding information, and make it easier for me to find what is crucial in today's world full of digital information.
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