Why much of the internet is closed off to blind people

Maysie Gonzales using the internet on her laptopImage copyrightJames Jeffrey
Image caption Maysie Gonzales using the internet on her laptop

As our everyday world moves increasingly online, the digital landscape presents new challenges for ensuring accessibility for the blind. A recent court challenge against Domino’s pizza may be a watershed case guiding the rights of disabled people on the internet, writes James Jeffrey.

Each swipe 17-year-old Maysie Gonzales makes on her smart phone is accompanied by what sounds like the famous Stephen Hawking voice barking out orders at a relentless pace.

“Sometimes I speed it up to 350 words a minute, it depends what mood I am in,” says Ms Gonzales, who lost her sight when she was two years old through retinal cancer.

Screen readers translate on-screen information into speech or Braille. They have broken open the internet for people who are blind or visually impaired, and for those with other disabilities.

But the device only works effectively on websites that are compatible.