Usability of Web Search Interfaces for Blind Users – A Review of Digital Academic Library User Interfaces

  • Tapio Haanperä
  • Marko Nieminen
Conference paper
Part of the Lecture Notes in Computer Science book series (LNCS, volume 8011)


In this paper we report our findings on the usability of four digital academic library databases when used by blind individuals using a screen reader. Our interaction level analysis shows that despite improvements in accessibility guidelines and technologies web search interfaces still lack good usability for screen reader users. Accessibility issues appear to have been addressed from the angle of technical readability instead of usability or user experience. As a result of the analysis we present design suggestions for making a web search interface more usable for screen reader users: 1) Highlighting search results (e.g. using headings), 2) No unnecessary elements before search results, 3) Search edit field and button in the beginning, 4) Descriptive labeling of search elements, 5) Abstract right after the search result title.


accessibility usability screen readers web search user interface 


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  • Tapio Haanperä
    • 1
  • Marko Nieminen
    • 1
  1. 1.Aalto University School of ScienceAALTOFinland

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