Access to digital resources: functionality, services and interfaces

Access to digital resources: interfaces and accessibility

Interface questions are critical to the process of creating a digital library, since it is through interfaces that services are provided to end users.
Three major aspects are taken into account when designing interfaces within Gallica:  
  • Graphics:Graphics define the site’s visual identity, which is aligned with all other BnF sites as defined in a charter that is applied to all sites. 
  • Ergonomics:The goal of ergonomics is to make the site usable by as many users as possible, for example by creating clearly worded services that are always found in the same location on a page, etc. A site as complex as a digital library requires ongoing in-depth ergonomic research. 
  • Accessibility: Accessibility is governed by standards laid down by the W3C. For Gallica, BnF’s target is to achieve silver level. As regards accessibility for visually impaired persons, BnF carries out testing with a group of target users and is gradually developing more appropriate services (by creating keyboard shortcuts for key services, providing access to raw text directly inside results pages, linking voice synthesis to raw text, making advanced search forms more accessible, etc.).


The concept of accessibility was invented by W3C President Tim Berners-Lee. It is applicable to all electronic browsing services and terminals. An accessible website is a site that can be used by any individual, irrespective of his/her hardware or software, network infrastructure, native language, culture, geographical location, or physical or mental aptitude.
In France, Act no. 2005-102 on “equal rights and opportunities, participation and citizenship for people with disabilities”, adopted on 11 February 2005, stipulates that “online public communication services run by the State, local authorities, and associated public institutions must be accessible to persons with disabilities [in accordance with] recommendations laid down for the development of e-government” (Article 47).

Wednesday, November 6, 2013