Proceedings of the 2009 International Cross-Disciplinary Conference on Web Accessibility W4A
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The W4A conference is decidedly cross-disciplinary but focused on Scientific Enquiry, Research, Development, and Engineering, and brings together computer scientists, psychologists, accessibility experts and technologists from academia and industry in discussion.
The following articles are from "Proceedings of the 2009 International Cross-Disciplinary Conference on Web Accessibility W4A":
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Arch, Andrew (2009): Web accessibility for older users: successes and opportunities. In: Proceedings of the 2009 International Cross-Disciplinary Conference on Web Accessibility W4A 2009. pp. 1-6. Available online
Web accessibility for older users -- are we there yet? We understand many of the needs, however there are some gaps in our knowledge and much integration and adoption still required. The Web Accessibility Initiative: Ageing Education and Harmonisation (WAI-AGE) project analyzed the Web accessibility requirements of older Web users based on the research and investigation of many people examining this issue over recent years. The changing abilities of older users as they experience age-related functional impairments were also considered. We found that many of the requirements fall under usable accessibility rather than technical accessibility, and that the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) 2.0 are able to assist developers to meet most of them. These usability aspects include factors such as the presentation of Web content, the inexperience of many older users, and the information overload often experienced. There is also an identified need for more usable browsers which can accommodate the varying experience, skills and impairments of older people and others in accessing the Web. Why isn't the current knowledge being fully utilised? Our review found that one reason is that people often aren't aware of it; the WAI-AGE project is working towards addressing the issue of educating researchers, developers and users alike. And what about the gaps in our knowledge? We identified that additional research is required to address gaps in our understanding, especially around some of the cognitive issues of ageing and around the way in which older users navigate the Web and interact with Web applications. This paper discusses the successes and examines reasons why, with regard to Web accessibility for older people, we are not there yet. It describes some of the challenges facing us and the associated opportunities as we all contribute to the enhancement of Web accessibility for all users.
Yao, Dengfeng, Qiu, Yunfeng and Huang, Harry (2009): Web-based Chinese sign language broadcasting system. In: Proceedings of the 2009 International Cross-Disciplinary Conference on Web Accessibility W4A 2009. pp. 101-103. Available online
We have analyzed the requirement of the deaf who were aware of the necessity of using sign language animation to broadcast the text on the web pages. So we have designed the architecture and implemented the web-based Chinese Sign Language Broadcasting System. Some deaf participants were asked to test this system through viewing the news. They think that the system can express the meanings of text via true and accurate sign language successfully and naturally, which can be made into the plugins of the browser, so we hold the idea that the client can use browser to download and install the plugins, and browse the web effectively and independently. The evaluation of these participants shows that this system meets the initial goal of ours.
Sayago, Sergio and Blat, Josep (2009): About the relevance of accessibility barriers in the everyday interactions of older people with the web. In: Proceedings of the 2009 International Cross-Disciplinary Conference on Web Accessibility W4A 2009. pp. 104-113. Available online
This paper reports key findings of a 3-year ethnographical study of the everyday interactions of older people with the web. The data consisted of in-situ observations and conversations with 388 older people while using myriads of web and computer technologies daily. The results revealed that the accessibility barriers that had a more negative effect on the daily interactions of older people with the web were due to their difficulties in remembering steps, understanding web and computer jargon and using the mouse, despite their willingness to use it. These obstacles were much more important than those caused by their difficulties perceiving visual information, understanding icons and using the keyboard. The prioritization of barriers was explained by two key aspects in ageing with new technologies, independency and inclusiveness, and a desired condition of web (user) interfaces, consistency in terminology. These results suggest that these three aspects should be considered carefully in enhancing web accessibility for older people, as well as allowing us to grasp older people's everyday web accessibility barriers. The paper discusses possible ways of making use of these findings to make the web more accessible to older people.
Leitner, Michael, Subasi, Özge, Höller, Norman, Geven, Arjan and Tscheligi, Manfred (2009): User requirement analysis for a railway ticketing portal with emphasis on semantic accessibility for older users. In: Proceedings of the 2009 International Cross-Disciplinary Conference on Web Accessibility W4A 2009. pp. 114-122. Available online
In this paper, we present the results from a survey on user requirements for older users of online ticketing services of a nationwide railway ticket and travel information portal. Our survey shows that older users differentiate in their attitude towards internet according to their experience with internet services and the service provided, not only according to their age. Further, our study indicates that in contrary to common belief advertisement or interactive elements are not perceived as negative all the time. The results of a questionnaire with 1200 responses, focus groups, interviews and qualitative analysis of user feedback also indicate that in order to improve and optimize the usage of the online system for older adults, it is needed to supply the system not only with technical accessibility requirements but also with an understanding of universal accessibility requirements. Universal requirements are defined by real user and usage cases and they consider standardization on not only coding but also predictability of usage and same patterns of interaction for similar websites.
Minifie, Darren and Coady, Yvonne (2009): Getting mobile with mobile devices: using the web to improve transit accessibility. In: Proceedings of the 2009 International Cross-Disciplinary Conference on Web Accessibility W4A 2009. pp. 123-126. Available online
The current model for public transportation in urban environments poses many limitations for travelers who are blind or visually impaired. Small communities are serviced by transit authorities with constrained budgets. Accordingly, few resources are available for accessibility reform. Larger communities have begun to implement services that take advantage of modern technologies; however, the majority of these services are targeted at the population at large with little regard for these special interest groups. In this paper, we define an approach based on best practices to support web accessibility, and incorporate new technological advances in mobility to provide a solution that complements the current transportation model. Problems of adapting existing web content, and end-user customizability are addressed. Preliminary evaluation includes feedback received from the blind community, and consultation with small-scale transit authorities. We believe that the most effective solution, in terms of cost and user satisfaction, will rely on ever-pervasive wireless internet connectivity, accessible web services, and adaptive mobile devices.
Brajnik, Giorgio, Yesilada, Yeliz and Harper, Simon (2009): Guideline aggregation: web accessibility evaluation for older users. In: Proceedings of the 2009 International Cross-Disciplinary Conference on Web Accessibility W4A 2009. pp. 127-135. Available online
Web site evaluation methodologies and validation engines take the view that all accessibility guidelines must be met to gain compliance. Problems exist in this regard as contradictions within the rule set may arise, and the type of impairment or its severity is not isolated. The Barrier Walkthrough (BW) method goes someway to addressing these issues by enabling barrier types derived from guidelines to be applied to different user categories such as motor or hearing impairment, etc. In this paper, we use set theory to create a validation scheme for older users by combining barrier types specific to motor impaired and low vision users, thereby creating a new "older users" category from the results of this set addition. To evaluate this approach, we have conducted a BW study with four pages, 19 expert and 49 non-expert judges. This study shows that the BW generates reliable data for the proposed aggregated user category and shows how experts and non-experts evaluate pages differently. The study also highlights a limitation of the BW by showing that a better aggregated user category would have been created by having a severity level of disability for different impairment types. By extending the BW with these impairment levels, we argue that the BW would become more useful for validating Web pages when dealing with users which multiple disabilities and thus we would be able to create a "Personalised Validation and Repair" method.
Sirithumgul, Pornpat, Suchato, Atiwong and Punyabukkana, Proadpran (2009): Quantitative evaluation for web accessibility with respect to disabled groups. In: Proceedings of the 2009 International Cross-Disciplinary Conference on Web Accessibility W4A 2009. pp. 136-141. Available online
In this research, we propose a methodology for evaluating web accessibility with respect to disabled users, especially the vision-impaired and the hearing-impaired. Two stages are involved in our approach. In the first stage, we adopt barriers proposed by the Barrier Walkthrough method to classify possible barriers for each group of users on a web page. In addition, this method proposes checkpoints of WCAG (Web Content Accessibility Guidelines) as barrier causes. All barriers found at this stage would be transformed into the relevant checkpoints. In the second stage, the severity of barriers is assessed by analyzing violated checkpoints. Our formula will also calculate accessibility value from the violated checkpoints. The result of our approach can identify whether the evaluated web pages are suitable for different groups of the disabled.
Mirri, Silvia, Muratori, Ludovico Antonio, Roccetti, Marco and Salomoni, Paola (2009): Metrics for accessibility on the Vamolà project. In: Proceedings of the 2009 International Cross-Disciplinary Conference on Web Accessibility W4A 2009. pp. 142-145. Available online
How far are the Web sites from accessibility? Such a question implies a measure and, before, metrics or a set of metrics to quantitatively describe distances or closeness to one or more aspects of inclusion. Quantitative evaluations can effectively guide the improvement of sites quality and of skills which are necessary along the content authoring process. This paper details the hypothesized metrics and measures on the Vamolŕ project, which has been issued to integrate a monitor and a validator of the Web accessibility, according to the Italian Law. On Vamolŕ, the validation tool output can be effectively used in defining metrics inside the monitor application.
Yao, Dengfeng, Qiu, Yunfeng, Du, Zaixin, Ma, Jianqing and Huang, Harry (2009): A survey of technology accessibility problems faced by older users in China. In: Proceedings of the 2009 International Cross-Disciplinary Conference on Web Accessibility W4A 2009. pp. 16-25. Available online
Internet accessibility for older users has become an important issue to promote inclusion and participation in the Information Society. In this paper, we propose an investigation into the technology accessibility problems faced by the elderly in China. We have conducted the research by means of an exploratory survey with a Web-based questionnaire and held discussions with older users at meetings. The study had 180 valid answers and involved representatives from each of the 25 provinces of China. The results show that 39% of the participants cannot or can only partially access information because of all kinds of accessibility problems in China. Many participants indicated that the main problems in the getting on the Internet were the health barrier, the circumstance barrier, and the Internet design barrier. The possible reason for these difficulties could be that the government doesn't foster a social environment conducive to helping the elderly get online, and that it does not provide services for the elderly designed to help them access information electronically. The poor rate of industry accessibility for the elderly, as well as the lack of the Chinese accessibility laws, is an important issue that must be dealt with to promote greater Internet accessibility for the elderly.
Fuertes, José L., González, Ricardo, Gutiérrez, Emmanuelle and Martínez, Loďc (2009): Hera-FFX: a Firefox add-on for semi-automatic web accessibility evaluation. In: Proceedings of the 2009 International Cross-Disciplinary Conference on Web Accessibility W4A 2009. pp. 26-35. Available online
Website accessibility evaluation is a complex task requiring a combination of human expertise and software support. There are several online and offline tools to support the manual web accessibility evaluation process. However, they all have some weaknesses because none of them includes all the desired features. In this paper we present Hera-FFX, an add-on for the Firefox web browser that supports semi-automatic web accessibility evaluation.
Aizpurua, Amaia, Arrue, Myriam, Vigo, Markel and Abascal, Julio (2009): Transition of accessibility evaluation tools to new standards. In: Proceedings of the 2009 International Cross-Disciplinary Conference on Web Accessibility W4A 2009. pp. 36-44. Available online
While automatic tools are not intended to replace human judgement they are crucial in order to develop accessible web sites. The release of WCAG 2.0 entails that the existing plethora of accessibility review tools will have to be updated. This paper presents an evaluation framework for making the transition from WCAG 1.0 to WCAG 2.0 in a less painful way. A framework is thus proposed that allows developers to create new guidelines, and update or reuse the existing ones. A case study to test its feasibility has been carried out by incorporating WCAG 2.0 guidelines into the framework. The results are satisfactory, since 55% of the automatic and 16% of the semi-automatic ones could be expressed using the framework. Therefore, it is demonstrated that even if the framework does not fully support the transition process, at least it makes it less burdensome. Moreover, by analyzing WCAG 2.0 we have learnt how to extend the existing tools in order to provide greater coverage and thus increase their effectiveness.
Baguma, Rehema, Stone, Roger G., Lugega, Jude T. and Weide, Th. P. van der (2009): A framework for filtering web accessibility guidelines. In: Proceedings of the 2009 International Cross-Disciplinary Conference on Web Accessibility W4A 2009. pp. 46-49. Available online
This paper first presents a framework for filtering the Web Accessibility Guidelines according to contexts of use. It then presents a prototype that implements the framework and explains an evaluation of the prototype.
García, Yod Samuel Martín, González, Beatriz San Miguel and García, Juan Carlos Yelmo (2009): Prosumers and accessibility: how to ensure a productive interaction. In: Proceedings of the 2009 International Cross-Disciplinary Conference on Web Accessibility W4A 2009. pp. 50-53. Available online
User-generated content (UGC) has become prevalent on the Web. It is not created by professional developers, but by prosumers: basic web users that also produce their own content. Thus, they lack any background, training, wherewithal, awareness and accountability regarding accessibility. We have extracted from top-used UGC sites a set of best practices to improve accessibility of UGC, focusing on the role the community itself plays in ensuring it. As we have merely compiled best practices, authoring tools and web content guidelines have not been redefined, but rather referenced and instantiated by UGC-specific recommendations.
Borrino, Roberto, Furini, Marco and Roccetti, Marco (2009): Augmenting social media accessibility. In: Proceedings of the 2009 International Cross-Disciplinary Conference on Web Accessibility W4A 2009. pp. 54-57. Available online
The popularity of social media is affecting society as they are changing the way communication, collaboration, interaction, and information are produced and consumed. A part of the society (e.g., the one more technologically advanced) takes advantage of social media, whereas another part of society (e.g., old or people with different abilities) is left out from the so-called social media revolution. In this paper we propose an architecture that aims at augmenting social media accessibility. The proposed architecture, named SOMFA (SOcial Media For All), finds, gets, transforms, and enriches social media contents for a presentation over TV sets, so that people with technological, sociological, or physical limitations may enjoy social media and may participate to the social media revolution.
Brown, Andy, Jay, Caroline and Harper, Simon (2009): Audio presentation of auto-suggest lists. In: Proceedings of the 2009 International Cross-Disciplinary Conference on Web Accessibility W4A 2009. pp. 58-61. Available online
One of the most significant advances behind World Wide Web (Web) 2.0 is the ability to allow parts of a Web page to be updated independently. This can provide an exciting, interactive experience for sighted users, who are used to dealing with complex visual information. For visually impaired users, however, these pages may be confusing: updates are sometimes not recognised by screen readers, while in other cases they may interrupt the user inappropriately. The SASWAT project aims to develop a model of how sighted users interact with dynamic updates, and use this to identify the most effective ways of presenting updates through an audio information stream. Here, we describe a 'thin slice' through this project, focusing on one form of update -- the auto-suggest list. These provide the user with suggestions for entry into an input text field, updating with each character typed. Experiments with sighted users suggest that the suggestions receive considerable attention, and appear to offer reassurance that the input is reasonable. Suggestions that are further down the list are less likely to be viewed, and receive fewer and shorter fixations than those at the top. We therefore propose an implementation which presents the first 3 suggestions immediately and allows browsing of the rest.
Coetzee, Louis, Olivrin, Guillaume and Viviers, Ilse (2009): Accessibility perspectives on enabling South African sign language in the South African national accessibility portal. In: Proceedings of the 2009 International Cross-Disciplinary Conference on Web Accessibility W4A 2009. pp. 62-65. Available online
Persons with disabilities are often marginalised from economy and society due to the lack of access to disability related information and services. Through the use of assistive technologies access to the information and services can often be obtained e.g. a visually impaired user using a screen reader. The Deaf however, cannot use such technology to break the barrier because of differences in literacy and comfort with written material. The Deaf thus requires another intervention to improve their access to information and services. One such mechanism is by embedding animated Sign Language in Web pages. This paper analyses the effectiveness and appropriateness of using this approach by embedding South African Sign Language in the South African National Accessibility Portal. Through experiments, user evaluations and web-metrics it is found that such techniques can improve the accessibility for Deaf users in experimental conditions. However, real world pervasiveness will be limited because of practical concerns such as the difficulty to create and maintain animated Sign Language and bandwidth constraints that impact on users' browsing experience.
Paciello, Mike (2009): The third age web: empathic design achieved through persona development & storytelling. In: Proceedings of the 2009 International Cross-Disciplinary Conference on Web Accessibility W4A 2009. p. 66. Available online
The Third Age Web -- a usable Web designed to accommodate older adults -- embraces the principles of user centered design; that is, a world wide web that is engaging, interactive, easy-to-use, navigable and otherwise relevant to the information&communication technology needs of Third Age users. Really, though, who and what are older adults? Is it possible to clearly characterize, classify, and precisely catalog their user needs? If so, how? Once we've learned how, can we transfer findings to the web to ensure contextual, functional and meaningful user interaction? This presentation proposes a design process that accentuates the Web Accessibility Initiative's (WAI) creation of user personas in the world of individuals with disabilities and complements it through the growing phenomena of storytelling.
Hall, Clint Andrew (2009): Web presentation layer bootstrapping for accessibility and performance. In: Proceedings of the 2009 International Cross-Disciplinary Conference on Web Accessibility W4A 2009. pp. 67-74. Available online
Hanson, Vicki L. (2009): Age and web access: the next generation. In: Proceedings of the 2009 International Cross-Disciplinary Conference on Web Accessibility W4A 2009. pp. 7-15. Available online
When today's young adults become 'older adults' will they exhibit difficulties with technology that appear to characterize the current older generation? This paper is intended to begin a discussion of technology experience as related to aging. The goal is to challenge some existing characterizations of older Web users and consider the implications for the future. Are technology difficulties an inescapable fact of aging? Or are there factors that will serve to equip future generations of older adults with skills that will erase or lessen these difficulties?
Lunn, Darren, Harper, Simon and Bechhofer, Sean (2009): Combining SADIe and AxsJAX to improve the accessibility of web content. In: Proceedings of the 2009 International Cross-Disciplinary Conference on Web Accessibility W4A 2009. pp. 75-78. Available online
The advent of Web 2.0 technologies has allowed once static Web documents to be transformed into online interactive applications. To facilitate the accessibility of this dynamic content, Google have developed the AxsJAX framework that can insert Accessible Rich Internet Applications (ARIA) statements into the content dynamically. Such statements allow assistive technologies to interact with dynamic content and make it accessible to users. SADIe is an approach that uses semantic annotations of a Website's Cascading Style Sheet (CSS) to drive a transformation process that can improve access to Web pages for visually impaired users who use a screen reader. Previously SADIe transcoded static pages by refactoring the content into a format more suited to the sequential audio output of a screen reader. In this paper we present a prototype SADIe transcoder that uses CSS annotations to generate AxsJAX framework code and insert it into Web pages. Such an approach allows users to access static content using a consistent set of key presses in a manner akin to an online application. This demonstrates the flexibility of the SADIe approach as the same annotations can be used to generate an alternative transcoding format. It also supports the use of SADIe as a lightweight method for allowing Web designers to make use of AxsJAX without requiring knowledge of the underlying AxsJAX technologies.
Sayago, Sergio, Camacho, Laura and Blat, Josep (2009): Evaluation of techniques defined in WCAG 2.0 with older people. In: Proceedings of the 2009 International Cross-Disciplinary Conference on Web Accessibility W4A 2009. pp. 79-82. Available online
Although WCAG 2.0 offer techniques for making web content more accessible to all people, very little is known about how these techniques enhance web accessibility for older people. This paper addresses two techniques, keyboard-based navigation and design of links purpose. They are evaluated by using simple prototypes in the course of designing two websites for old-age pensioner associations. Participants (N=11) ranged in age from 65 to 80 years old and were familiar with web concepts. The results indicated that keyboard-driven navigation did not improve web accessibility. Older people preferred to use the mouse because of inclusiveness, despite their difficulties using it. 'Click here to' links helped participants clarify where they had to click and what would happen after clicking, despite not being suggested by the WCAG 2.0. Click-able pictures should resolve to full size renderings of those images rather than opening a new web page. These findings suggest that WCAG 2.0 do not consider carefully enough some important needs of older people. The paper discusses some alternatives for taking them into account.
Martins, António Eduardo and Reis, Felipa lopes dos (2009): Virtual teaching in a society of learning. In: Proceedings of the 2009 International Cross-Disciplinary Conference on Web Accessibility W4A 2009. pp. 84-87. Available online
Education is a social practice historically placed and goes beyond all human activity, spreading to the network of relations that takes place in the social fabric, mediated or not by some kind of technology. Online education -- that is, computer mediated communication -- for educational purposes carries with it questions relative to its teaching and the overall nature of online learning. Online education constitutes a new professional configuration, a possibility of the effective use of teaching and the effective construction of knowledge from another spatial-temporal logic, without losing sight of the objective conditions of social networks, in particular new forms of social connections brought out by wider social changes, strongly marked by a technological presence.
Gay, Greg, Mirri, Silvia, Roccetti, Marco and Salomoni, Paola (2009): Adapting learning environments with AccessForAll. In: Proceedings of the 2009 International Cross-Disciplinary Conference on Web Accessibility W4A 2009. pp. 90-91. Available online
ATutor is an Open Source Web-based learning environment that has accessibility as a guiding development principle. From its beginning, ATutor was created to fill a need for an accessible network-based Learning Management System (LMS)  . Continuing with its attention to accessibility, ATutor adds the first implementation of the ISO FDIS 24751  accessibility standards.
Galán, Jesus Hernandez, Usero, Martinez, Ángel, J., Usero, Martinez, Ángel, J., Méndez, Varela, Jesús, M., Méndez, Varela and Jesús, M. (2009): User tests demonstration: real experiences in measuring web accessibility needs for people with disabilities and the elderly. In: Proceedings of the 2009 International Cross-Disciplinary Conference on Web Accessibility W4A 2009. pp. 93-95. Available online
A practical user test session with people with disabilities and the elderly is presented. The background and expert knowledge on web accessibility evaluation of ONCE Foundation, CIDAT and Technosite will be used to carry out a demonstrative workshop on how a non accessible web site can be improved through WCAG 1.0 and 2.0 as well as the results of real user tests in order to make it compliant with universal guidelines.
Borodin, Yevgen, Dausch, Glenn and Ramakrishnan, I. V. (2009): TeleWeb: accessible service for web browsing via phone. In: Proceedings of the 2009 International Cross-Disciplinary Conference on Web Accessibility W4A 2009. pp. 96-97. Available online
In this paper, we present TeleWeb -- a telephony service for web browsing via the most ubiquitous communication device, the Phone. TeleWeb integrates a simple and usable phone interface with the intelligent features such as context-directed browsing, template-detection, and macro-replaying. We expect that TeleWeb will equally appeal to people with vision impairments, older adults who may not be comfortable using computers, and anyone who wants to access the Web on the move.
Pfeiffer, Silvia and Parker, Conrad (2009): Accessibility for the HTML5 <video> element. In: Proceedings of the 2009 International Cross-Disciplinary Conference on Web Accessibility W4A 2009. pp. 98-100. Available online
In this paper, we describe existing implementations for putting subtitles and captions alongside the HTML5
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