Finding Travel Destinations: The Basics on Print Disability


Floor marker for people with disabilities in N...

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"Findability precedes usability in the alphabet and on the web. You can't use what you can't find." Peter Morville - Ambient Findability

But what happens when you can't "find" the alphabet?

Well, that might be because you are print-disabled person and the information that you seek exists but is in a format that is not findable with the assistive technology (AST) that you use.

The Reading Rights Coalition points out that:

George Kerscher coined the term "print disabled" (circa 1988-1989) to describe persons who could not access print.

The definition is as follows:

print disabled, noun; print-disabled, adjective.

A person who cannot effectively read print because of a visual, physical, perceptual, developmental, cognitive, or learning disability.

When used as an adjective, the word should be hyphenated, e.g. print-disabled person.

(outdated) The Higher Education Opportunity Act defines "print disabled" as "a student with a disability who experiences barriers to accessing instructional material in non-specialized formats, including an individual described in Title 17 of the Copyright Act."

The Google Library Project Settlement defines "print disabled" as "User is unable to read standard printed material due to blindness, visual disability, physical limitations, organic dysfunction or dyslexia."


Data Conversion Laboratory dives deeper with George Kerscher into solutions based on XML and the DAISY format in this interview. An excerpt:


 What does all this mean for people with disabilities?

George Kerscher:

 RFB&D launched its digital service on September 3, 2002. This marks the transition from more than 50 years of analog (with the last 25 years being on 4-track cassette). The powerful navigation of the DAISY format makes the cassette obsolete. And I predict a rapid adoption of this technology. Once we start to use text encoded in XML, we can begin to deliver full text synchronized with full audio multimedia product. This dual reinforcement ... see it and hear it at the same time ... is what we believe will make a real difference in the education of all persons with print disabilities. I believe it will revolutionize education for this disability group. No kidding, we are on the verge of a breakthrough that will change the lives of people with print disabilities.

Read the full interview:

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