Making CD-ROM's Multimedia Work for All Users
Wloodkowski, Tom, Computers in Libraries
Tom Wlodkowski is project manager at the CPB/WGBH National Center for Accessible Media in Boston, and is involved with the CD-ROM Access Project as well as with museum and Web access work. A blind computer user he holds a B.A. in Communications from Boston College. His e-mail address is firstname.lastname@example.org.
CD-ROM's interesting multimedia content is not always accessible to the disabled. But access can be achieved if the software has the right stuff.
Advances in computer technology have brought most people as close as a mouse click to a wealth of information. It is no longer necessary to flip through volume upon volume of a printed encyclopedia to access a map of Africa, or to search for information about Babe Ruth. Today, we can simply show up at our local library, ask for our favorite encyclopedia on CD-ROM, sit down at a nearby workstation, and start clicking.
While multimedia encyclopedias have revolutionized how people with disabilities access information, especially individuals who are blind or mobility-impaired, they and other multimedia products also have some pitfalls. Fortunately, there are readily available solutions that, if incorporated into multimedia software during the design phase, will make it universally accessible. But if full access is to be achieved, product developers need to be made aware of these pitfalls and of how to eliminate them, and software buyers need to know what to look for and ask for before making their purchases.
How, for example, can a deaf person access the abundance of audio contained in these products? How can a blind person search for an article when the search controls are contained in an image? How can he or …
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Publication information: Article title: Making CD-ROM's Multimedia Work for All Users. Contributors: Wloodkowski, Tom - Author. Magazine title: Computers in Libraries. Volume: 19. Issue: 6 Publication date: June 1999. Page number: 63. © 2008 Information Today, Inc. COPYRIGHT 1999 Gale Group.
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