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Improving deaf users' accessibility in hypertext information retrieval: are graphical interfaces useful for them?

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This paper explores the effect of substituting textual links for graphical ones on the performance of deaf signers in hypertext information retrieval (HIR). Both deaf and hearing users found more targets, were faster and became less disoriented in the verbal hypertext interface than in the graphical one. Deaf users were outperformed by hearing users in all conditions except in short paths with the graphical interface. The results and its applied consequences, which would be also relevant to other users with similar problems than those of deaf signers (elderly people, people with dyslexia, people navigating in a website using a foreign language or people with low literacy) are discussed in relation to the CoLiDeS model of web interaction (Kitajima et al. 2000) and to the overgeneralisation of Picture superiority effect’ (Nelson et al. 1976).

Keywords: Deafness; Graphical user interface; Semantic memory; Web accessibility

Document Type: Research Article


Affiliations: 1: University of Basque Country, Spain 2: University of Granada, Spain

Publication date: November 1, 2006

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