PROGRAM CONTACT: DOUG BARKEMA
MEDIA CONTACT: CHARLES S. DRUM
300 Plaza Centre One
Iowa City IA 52242
(319) 384-0048; fax (319) 384-0024
Release: Feb. 27, 2002
UI web access exhibit shows what the disabled 'see' (or don't) on the
You think your beautiful new high-tech website says "Ours is the best
company in the world," but what it says to a sight-impaired visitor is
"script, script, script, script," endlessly. You've designed an
With more and more business done online and paperless transactions becoming
mainstream, web access for people with disabilities is already a serious issue.
A group of University of Iowa students, staff, and faculty concerned about
access have set up an exhibit that gives viewers the opportunity not only
to see the problems first hand, but to see some of the solutions.
The exhibit is open to the public, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., Thursday, March 28
at the New Media Day event in the Wayne Richey Ballroom of the Iowa Memorial
Doug Barkema, a student member of the Universal Web Access Group, says the
group was formed to examine whether the UI should implement a policy for web
design and web access.
"The internet has crossed barriers and connected people all over the
world to information and people they'd never otherwise have access to,"
Barkema says. "But some websites have certain attributes or have been
designed with a certain type of software that makes it difficult for a disabled
person to access the site."
For example, the visually impaired often use screen readers that can read
the words on a computer screen, and there are several other assistive techniques
and devices in common use. They can all be rendered useless, however, by web
site design and software.
"It's actually not that hard to take accessibility into account and
design a site that does everything you want for every kind of visitor,"
The access group's exhibit will allow visitors to "see" what accessible
and non-accessible sites "look like," using an assortment of assistive
For more information, visit: http://www.its.uiowa.edu/cs/at/