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Are Travel Websites Meeting the Needs of the Visually Impaired?

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Websites designed for sighted online users may not be suitable for the visually impaired (VI). However, research efforts exploring what VI users find problematic on travel websites are limited. This article, therefore, investigates the travel website usability perception of VI users. In order to determine perceptions of travel websites by the VI, four focus group interviews were conducted with members of the National Federation of the Blind, Indiana Chapter. The collected qualitative data were analyzed using the grounded theory technique. The data analysis yielded nine themes that are presented in this article. The findings indicate that unmarked visual elements hinder navigation at travel websites. In addition, hard to complete online forms prevent the VI from fulfilling reservations and purchasing travel products. The study concludes with recommendations on how owners, managers, and technical designers can make travel websites more accessible to the VI.
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Keywords: GROUNDED THEORY TECHNIQUE; NOMINAL GROUP TECHNIQUE; QUALITATIVE DATA ANALYSIS; TRAVEL WEBSITES; VISUALLY IMPAIRED; WEB DESIGN

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: 2007-06-01

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  • Information Technology & Tourism is the first scientific journal dealing with the exciting relationship between information technology and tourism. Information and communication systems embedded in a global net have profound influence on the tourism and travel industry. Reservation systems, distributed multimedia systems, highly mobile working places, electronic markets, and the dominant position of tourism applications in the Internet are noticeable results of this development. And the tourism industry poses several challenges to the IT field and its methodologies.
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