Advances in information technology have brought about untold liberation and opportunities for people who are blind or visually impaired. Yet as this issue of AccessWorld shows, change can be hard and nothing can be taken for granted. The products we use today may be discontinued tomorrow. New releases or developments in mainstream products too often mean a loss in access as our assistive technologies and coping skills strain to adjust. And the devices that we find so liberating may also lead to new concerns, such as computer use that results in repetitive stress injuries.
As Deborah Kendrick points out in her article on Artic, the once strong and innovative developer of access technologies is now struggling to figure out its role in the rapidly changing world that has transformed even the access corner of the technology industry. Artic has lost ground, and though company officials vigorously claimthat it is "alive and well," users of Artic products are left to wonder about the future of its key products, such as notetakers and access software. Unfortunately, in this world of mergers and rapid developments, good things do not come to those who wait.
Mark Uslan and Alec Peck look at an area of emerging concern—visual and physical fatigue among users of closed-circuit televisions (CCTVs). Although more study is obviously needed, it is clear that users must take steps to ensure that they can benefit from these magnification devices without suffering undue hazards.
Crista Earl and Jay Leventhal explore one of the most promising information developments—the World Wide Web—and provide some digestible information about what separates a good Web site from a not so good one. And in the News section you can read about some positive updates on America Online, video description, and other interesting tidbits.
Finally, we need your ideas. We are beginning to hear more and more from AccessWorld readers and potential subscribers that there is a need for information about so-called "low-tech" products. What do you think? Sound off at our Web site (Web site address is: www.afb.org), via E-mail (E-mail address is: firstname.lastname@example.org), or good old-fashioned mail. If you want us to cover low-tech products, what kind of information would be most helpful to you?
Editor in Chief
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