Accessibility barriers of videoconferencing tools focused on people with visual disabilities
Tania Acosta, Pastor Nso-Mangue, Sergio Luján-Mora
Proceedings of the 17th International Technology, Education and Development Conference (INTED 2023), p. 7029-7038, Valencia (Spain), March 6-8 2023. ISBN: 978-84-09-49026-4. https://doi.org/10.21125/inted.2023.1919
(INTED'23b) Congreso internacional / International conference
Since March 2020, date on which the World Health Organization (WHO) characterized COVID-19 as a pandemic, millions of people were forced into a confinement for several months. That situation generated the massive use of videoconferencing tools to continue our educational, personal and professional activities, among others. Videoconferencing tools helped millions of people continue their daily activities, but many people with disabilities experienced discrimination because the videoconferencing tools were not accessible. This paper presents some of the accessibility barriers faced by visually impaired people during a real-time videoconferencing. In this research, Zoom, Microsoft Teams, Google Meet and Cisco WebEx, four of most used videoconferencing tools worldwide, have been considered. This research was conducted taking into account the A, AA and AAA level accessibility recommendations of the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines 2.1 (WCAG 2.1) of the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C). These guidelines are recognized all over the world as the gold standard for making a website accessible and usable for everyone. This study discusses the barriers that prevent visually impaired people from perceiving and operating the different components of the user interface of videoconferencing tools. Also, accessibility barriers that prevent interaction and understanding of information that is transmitted and shared through text and multimedia content have been identified. This research shows that despite the great technological progress that we experience daily, videoconferencing tools have not been provided with all the accessibility features that people with visual disabilities require. The lack of accessibility of the videoconferencing tools causes exclusion and non-compliance with the rights that all people in the world have to access information and communication. It is important to consider that providing accessibility features that benefit people with permanent visual impairments also benefits people who have low vision, a temporary visual impairment, as well as older adults whose visual capacity have been diminished over the years. We hope that the results of this research be considered for the design and development more accessible, usable and inclusive videoconferencing tools. Therefore, this study contributes to the construction of a more just, equitable and discrimination-free society.