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Electronic Commerce “in the Dark”

The widespread diffusion of electronic commerce offers a great opportunity for blind people. We describe 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 shopping on-line, and solicit their expectations and suggestions for making the interaction simpler and more satisfying. Results show that blind users shop on-line much less than their sighted counterparts, since they encounter more difficulties not only when making a purchase, but even in the navigation phase preceding the commercial transaction. Complex layouts and unstructured content can prevent an e-transaction from being successfully completed. Furthermore, security, privacy and trustiness, common concerns for all consumers, also impact on the fear of buying via Internet for the visually impaired. Poor usability leads to a potential loss of revenue for on-line companies and a lost opportunity to increase a blind person’s independence. Providing simpler, more understandable UIs would benefit all users and fuel the expansion of electronic commerce.


First International Workshop Human-Computer Interaction, Tourism and Cultural Heritage (HCITOCH 2010), Brescello (RE) Italy, 2010

External authors: Barbara Leporini (ISTI - CNR)
IIT authors:

Type: Article in proceedings of international peer-reviewed conference
Field of reference: Information Technology and Communication Systems

Activity: Accessibility and Usability of User Interfaces