The Accessibility of Chinese Social Media for People with Visual Impairments – the case of Weibo
Weibo is one of the most widely used social media in China. It is the Chinese Twitter, which allow users to post 140 Chinese characters. Weibo has 100 million daily active users. People usually use it to get news and share their opinions since Weibo serves as micro-blogging. There are at least 13 million people with visual impairments.If the information on Internet are accessible, they can surf online as people without disabilities.Our survey showed that also people with visual impairments use Weibo to get news and share their minds. Weibo consists of multimedia, such as text, images, videos and audios. As a website with mobile applications, Weibo also has common elements, such as navigation, robustness etc. If these are not fully accessible, they can create barriers for the visually impaired. For instance, no alterative text for non-text content and low colour contrast. There exists research focusing on the accessibility of social media services such as Facebook, twitter etc. These services are not available in China. To our knowledge, there is no previous research concerning the accessibility of Weibo. This project aims to identify the accessibility issues of Weibo for people with visual impairments and provide recommendations for improving accessibility. Three evaluation methods were used in this project, including automatic testing, heuristic testing and user testing. AChecker, AccessLint.com and the WAVE evaluation tool were chosen for automatic testing. People with visual impairments were involved in user testing. Based on the evaluations, we found that the most frequent accessibility issues for the visually impaired included lacking alternative text for non-text content, ambiguous description of buttons and labels, no Hotkey setting, illogical layout and inaccessible web widgets used, disabled resize options and low contrast. Based on the findings, we consider Weibo as not fully accessible for people with visual impairments and made recommendations for improvements, including providing alternative text for non-text content, providing Hotkeys and ARIA tags for easier and efficient keyboard navigation, improving colour contrast and logic page design, providing resize options and context-sensitive support.