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Please use this identifier to cite or link to this item: http://hdl.handle.net/1807/26157

Title: Is Hearing Believing? Perception of Online Information Credibility by Screen Reader Users who are Blind or Visually Impaired
Authors: Chandrashekar, Sambhavi
Advisor: Caidi, Nadia
Hockema, Stephen
Department: Information Studies
Keywords: Credibility perception
Blind or visually impaired
Web accessibility
Everyday information practices
Online participation
Issue Date: 15-Feb-2011
Abstract: While credibility perception on the Web is a well-researched topic across multiple disciplines, extant studies have not considered nonvisual modalities of Web access. This research explores how Web users who are blind or visually impaired perceive the credibility of online information and how the screen reader used by them to interact with the Web mediates the process. Credibility perception was studied in the context of the screen reader users’ everyday information practices, examining in depth the effect of Web accessibility on their online information interactions, information practices and credibility perception. Adopting an exploratory approach, a sequential multimethods research design was used. Between April and July 2008 data were collected from adult screen reader users residing in Ontario, Canada through an electronic questionnaire survey (N=60) to identify salient issues, which were then examined deeper through semi-structured interviews with a subsample (N=13) during June 2009. Hands-on online information activities (with participant observation and think-aloud protocol) were also conducted during the interview session. Primary findings emerged through qualitative content analysis of descriptive data, with quantitative results guiding and supplementing the analysis. Online information credibility perception is found to be a dynamic and social process. It is governed by users’ assumptions based on their past experiences, personal knowledge/beliefs and social inputs. Assumptions evolve over time and usage into personal heuristics. The credibility perception process spans three phases—prediction, evaluation and corroboration—permeating the information seeking, using and sharing practices of users. Evaluation of website and web content depends on users’ online interaction proficiency and is bounded by the interface affordances provided by the screen reader and the amount of meta-information provided by the websites for interpreting visual/spatial features. Community support scaffolds users towards more effective technology management and credibility perception. Therefore, promoting inclusion in the online participatory culture will enhance the information practices of screen reader users.
URI: http://hdl.handle.net/1807/26157
Appears in Collections:Doctoral

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