DESIGN CRITERIA FOR DIGITAL BOOKS FOR INDIVIDUALS WITH SPECIAL NEEDS: NEEDS OF HEARING IMPAIRED, VISUALLY IMPAIRED AND ORTHOPEDICALLY HANDICAPPED INDIVIDUALS

The concept of equality of opportunity proposes that all people should be treated similarly, unhampered by artificial barriers, prejudices or preferences. Equality can be assured within multiple dimensions. There have been many initiatives to eliminate the barriers and provide equality of opportunity. As an instance, Universal Instructional Design (UID) intends to provide guidelines to increase accessibility for learners with special needs. In digital knowledge age, accessing information is crucial and digital books have been one of the significant source of information. In this sense, this research aims to contribute to “equality of opportunity” notion by providing design criteria for digital books for individuals with special needs. Within this perspective, the purpose of this study is to identify design criteria for digital books for individuals with special needs. Employing a qualitative exploratory methodology to reveal the needs of hearing-impaired, visually impaired and orthopedically handicapped individuals and identify sound and effective design criteria for digital books. The study also explores the needs of each group within seven themes: Written content, spoken content, static graphic content, dynamic graphic content, technology, layout and interaction. Additionally, research findings are discussed and suggestions for future implications are provided.