In analyzing virtual reality applications to examine access issues for people with disabilities, it is useful to separate those applications where the virtual reality (VR) presentation is used as a metaphor from those where the mode of presentation is inherently tied to, or restricted by, the information being presented. In the case where VR is being used only as a metaphor, it is often possible to provide access even to individuals with severe physical, cognitive, and sensory impairments by providing a display/control via an alternate mechanism in parallel with the VR metaphor. This type of parallel display/control strategy is not available when the presentation is inherently tied to the information being presented. For both types of applications, however, the application of virtual altered realities (VAR) can be used to either transpose or enhance the presentation of information in order to facilitate its perception and manipulation by people with varying physical, cognitive, and sensory abilities. This paper presents the strategies underlying these two approaches as well as providing examples of ways the strategies can be used to increase the accessibility and useability of virtual reality by people with disabilities.

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