Using SVG to develop web maps for people with visual disabilities
This paper addresses the problem of accessibility in geographical web maps. A person with disability cannot use, nowadays, a web map with the same functionality as other users do. This problem signifies a huge gap in universal usability, since a wide range of people are left out. This contravenes clearly the principles of the Web, which was created to be of the benefit of anyone in any circumstances. Some software projects have tackled this issue by providing an additional version of the program or just by not dealing with it at all. Our stance is to take a step further and integrate completely the accessibility within the user experience. Everything needed to use the web map –with or without disabilities– is deployed on the same view every user interacts with. This means that an accessible web map has been successfully developed, allowing users with disabilities to explore and navigate not in the same way, but with the same results which others benefit from. This solution opens a discussion about good ways of achieving accessibility, the implications of the current state of art in actual software development and the current awareness about this topic in the computer community.