Istituto di Scienza e Tecnologie dell'Informazione     
Buzzi M. C., Buzzi M., Leporini B., Senette C. Electronic Commerce: a great opportunity for the Blind. F.V.C. Ficarra, A. Kratky, M.P. Jimenez, M.C. Ficarra, C. de Castro lozano and E. Nicol (eds.). (Human-Computer Interaction, vol. 1). Italy (Bg): Blue Herons Editions, 2011.
Electronic commerce is a new way for computer users to shop. Its advantages are many -- choosing from an array of vendors and shops, making purchases without having to physically move from your desk, home, or office, or even shopping from anywhere at all thanks to mobile devices. This new way to purchase goods and services is very interesting for people with disabilities, since they can increase their personal autonomy without having to ask someone to accompany them shopping, or having to rely on others to do their buying for them. However, in order to make this opportunity really effective and efficient, on-line systems must be accessible and usable by all, including those who are obliged to interact through assistive technologies (e.g., via screen readers). Making eCommerce accessible and usable for a screen reader user means that she/he should be able to concentrate on the purchase, access all information, and finish the transaction in complete autonomy as well as security. For blind people eCommerce can be a valuable tool for increasing their independence but it is necessary to analyze whether what is available on the market is really ?open? to this user category. This chapter investigates the issue by considering the eBay platform, which is probably the e-commerce system most often used to make purchases online; we aim to provide an overview of the main problems encountered by this particular user category in order to propose possible strategies and solutions.In this chapter we first discuss characteristics of eCommerce, focusing on opportunities and problems for people with disabilities. We explore concerns regarding interaction using a screen reader, the assistive technology used by blind people, and also discuss a brief review of the literature in the field, with particular attention to users with special needs. Next, we report the results of an electronic survey carried out with 22 blind and 22 sighted users in order to understand the difficulties and obstacles they experience when shopping on-line, soliciting their expectations and suggestions for making the interaction simpler and more satisfying. Next we analyze the interaction with one of the most popular eCommerce web sites (eBay) simulating different user?s skills from different visually- impaired people. Simulation was carried out by three sighted authors and another who has been totally blind from childhood. Based on these results and on source code inspection, we will focus on a wide variety of navigation and interaction issues resulting from the lack of applied accessibility and usability criteria in the design phase. Accessibility allows users to explore web page content, while usability provides online users with simple, efficient, and satisfying navigation and interaction. Difficulties encountered during navigation and search must be distinguished from those encountered during a commercial transaction. Buying a product requires users to have clear, complete feedback on the correctness of the commercial transaction. This last step in online shopping can be considered the point when virtual reality ends and the real world begins; from that moment any action will have some consequence in real life since it is necessary to provide personal data and to use one's credit card.
URL: http://www.blueherons.net/Advances%20in%20Dynamic%20and%20Static%20Media%20for%20Interactive%20Systems.html
DOI: 10.978.8896471/081
Subject Usability
screen reader
H.5.2User Interfaces. Graphical user interfaces (GUI)
K.4.2 Handicapped persons/special needs

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