How do People with Disability Use and Experience Virtual Worlds and ICT: A Literature Review

Karen Stendal


There is wide agreement that information and communication technology (ICT) is a valuable tool for people with disability. Several research disciplines have focused on how people with disability can take advantage of the technology available for social, educational and personal purposes. Virtual worlds represent the latest addition to the technologies available, yet there is little research on how people with disability use and experience virtual worlds. A review of research conducted in different disciplines on the affordances and challenges of virtual worlds and ICT for people with disability is presented here. The main objective was to highlight areas that lack sufficient research in the field of virtual worlds for people with disability. Understanding how use of ICT influences people with disability is important to identify the possibilities and challenges virtual worlds offer to this group. Findings from this study indicate that there is little empirical research exploring the social aspects, work opportunities and personal value virtual worlds may offer people with disability. The research reviewed points to the importance of bringing research disciplines together to accelerate knowledge about the potential and promises of virtual worlds for people with disability.


ICT; virtual worlds; disability; disabilities; information communication technology; support

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