Eighteen Blind Library Users’ Experiences with Library Websites and Search Tools in U.S. Academic Libraries: A Qualitative Study

Adina Mulliken

Abstract

Telephone interviews were conducted with 18 blind academic library users around the U.S. about their experiences using their library and its website. The study uses the perspective that blind users’ insights are fundamental. A common theme was that navigating a webpage is time consuming on the first visit. Issues identified include the need for “databases” to be defined on the homepage, accessibly coded search boxes, logical heading structure, and several problems to be resolved on result pages. Variations in needs depending on users’ screen reader expertise were also raised. Suggestions for libraries to address these issues are offered.

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