Identifier

etd-1113102-220210

Degree

Master of Mass Communication (MMC)

Department

Mass Communication

Document Type

Thesis

Abstract

Advances in technology have given the blind public a new voice in corporate America. Today, blind individuals are able to utilize the Internet independently using screen access software. However, like ramps for wheelchairs in physical spaces, Web site accommodations are needed in cyberspace for successful use. A review of the current literature indicates trends in public relations are shifting toward a corporate ethic of social responsibility, but on-line concerns for the disabled are not clearly demonstrated among the leading corporations in the United States. The purpose of this research is to determine if blind consumers are being accommodated on corporate Web sites in a manner that is conducive to public relations efforts to establish and maintain positive relationships with this new public. A content analysis of the Web sites maintained by the top 100 Fortune 500 corporations in the United States was performed to identify the current Web design practices being used to relate to blind publics through the Internet. The results indicate the needs of the blind consumer are not being met in mainstream business practices on the World Wide Web, despite government initiatives to support Web accessibility for the disabled.

Date

2002

Document Availability at the Time of Submission

Release the entire work immediately for access worldwide.

Committee Chair

Alan Fletcher

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