Proceedings of the 2010 International Cross-Disciplinary Conference on Web Accessibility W4A
Time and place:
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 2010 International Cross-Disciplinary Conference on Web Accessibility W4A":
Bratt, Steve (2010): Breaking barriers to a read/write web that empowers all. In: Proceedings of the 2010 International Cross-Disciplinary Conference on Web Accessibility W4A 2010. p. 1. Available online
Since conceived by Sir Tim Berners-Lee in 1989, the Web has grown from 1 user to more than 1.7 billion. The Web offers its users the potential to create and consume information, communicate and collaborate across the globe, and develop (and dramatically alter) businesses and business models. Despite the Web's capabilities and growth, 75% of the world's people are not using the Internet and the Web. Some argue that connecting those who are currently unconnected to the Internet could help alleviate the world's greatest tragedies, such as poverty, hunger, disease, violence, corruption, lack of education, etc. Perhaps so, but a number of challenges -- beyond simple connections to the Internet -- must be addressed to realize the true value that the Web can provide for people in need. More than 4.7 billion people now have, through their mobile phones, entry-level, electronic access to some information and services. To date, most stories of the use of mobile phones for development center around voice and text messaging services. For example, in the Indian fishing sector of Kerala, an in-depth economic study  has shown that voice access to market information (demand, prices, locations) allows fishermen to optimize how and where they sell fish, has increased the income of fishermen by 9% (accounting for the cost of mobile phones and subscriptions), while reducing the overall price of fish by 4% for consumers (due to the elimination of unsold and therefore wasted catches). Similar results have been demonstrated for other products and regions (see e.g. grain market in Niger ). At the global level, the number of services like these and people benefiting from them are very low. Major contributors to this deficiency include barriers that inhibit people from developing and deploying locally-relevant content, information and services, as well as barriers that inhibit people from accessing and using services once they are deployed. This keynote will examine barriers to content development and access affecting people from underprivileged communities, with focus on people with low-reading skills, speaking lesser-known languages, without computer experience, and with disabilities. We will also introduce the different programs of the Web Foundation, a new international non-profit launched by Tim Berners-Lee in November 2009 . The Foundation's programs aim to pool the talents of the Web community to break down these barriers such that more people can more effectively leverage the power of the Web to improve lives and communities.
Lopes, Rui, Gomes, Daniel and Carrico, Luis (2010): Web not for all: a large scale study of web accessibility. In: Proceedings of the 2010 International Cross-Disciplinary Conference on Web Accessibility W4A 2010. p. 10. Available online
The Web accessibility discipline strives for the study and improvement of front-end Web design towards people with disabilities. Best practices such as WCAG dictate how Web pages should be created accordingly. On top of WCAG, several evaluation procedures enable the measurement of the quality level of a Web page. We leverage these procedures in an automated evaluation of a nearly 30 million Web page collection provided by the Portuguese Web Archive. Our study shows that there is high variability regarding the accessibility level of Web pages, and that few pages reach high accessibility levels. The obtained results show that there is a correlation between accessibility and complexity (i.e., number of HTML elements) of a Web page. We have also verified the effect of the interpretation of evaluation warnings towards the perception of accessibility.
Shelly, Cynthia C. and Barta, Mike (2010): Application of traditional software testing methodologies to web accessibility. In: Proceedings of the 2010 International Cross-Disciplinary Conference on Web Accessibility W4A 2010. p. 11. Available online
The shift in nature of Web content from static documents to dynamic Rich Internet Applications (RIA) has not been accompanied by a similar shift in testing methodology. RIAs are software applications, and as such can benefit from the testing methodologies used in the field of software development. Because this shift in nature is fairly recent, traditional software testing methodology has not been given the importance it is due within the domain of accessibility. We will attempt to show the merits of Traditional Software Testing as applied to the domain of Web accessibility, and to make the case for a shift of focus from post hoc validation to proactive testing as the preferred means of assuring accessibility for Web sites and applications.
Bailey, Christopher and Pearson, Elaine (2010): An educational tool to support the accessibility evaluation process. In: Proceedings of the 2010 International Cross-Disciplinary Conference on Web Accessibility W4A 2010. p. 12. Available online
This paper describes the development of a web accessibility knowledge management tool, known as the Accessibility Evaluation Assistant (AEA), designed to assist novice auditors in the process of an accessibility evaluation. The tool is designed primarily for undergraduate and postgraduate computing students with limited knowledge of web accessibility, limited opportunity to study accessibility and limited access to expert reviewers or disabled user groups. The software supports the novice auditor through a series of tailored checks based on a specified user groups, or the specific content features of the website. This process enables the novice auditor to draw more accurate conclusions about the accessibility of individual web sites, and facilitates effective prioritization when conducting fixes.
Borodin, Yevgen, Bigham, Jeffrey P., Dausch, Glenn and Ramakrishnan, I. V. (2010): More than meets the eye: a survey of screen-reader browsing strategies. In: Proceedings of the 2010 International Cross-Disciplinary Conference on Web Accessibility W4A 2010. p. 13. Available online
Browsing the Web with screen readers can be difficult and frustrating. Web pages often contain inaccessible content that is expressed only visually or that can be accessed only with the mouse. Screen-reader users must also contend with usability challenges encountered when the reading content is designed with built-in assumptions of how it will be accessed -- generally by a sighted person on a standard display. Far from passive consumers of content who simply accept web content as accessible or not, many screen-reader users are adept at developing, discovering, and employing browsing strategies that help them overcome the accessibility and usability problems they encounter. In this paper, we overview the browsing strategies that we have observed screen-reader users employ when faced with challenges, ranging from unfamiliar web sites and complex web pages to dynamic and automatically-refreshing content. A better understanding of existing browsing strategies can inform the design of accessible websites, development of new tools that make experienced users more effective, and help overcome the initial learning curve for users who have not yet acquired effective browsing strategies.
In this research we introduce the ABBA framework for the generation of advanced screen readers. Current solutions do not enable blind users to participate in the Web in a satisfactory way because they are not time-efficient, cumbersome to use, and do not provide enough overview and orientation within a document. Also, they hide away important layout information from the user. Our approach overcomes these limitations by unifying different semantic views of a document into one multi-axial model and making them accessible to the user in an intuitive interface. The benefit to the user is a higher level of control in different navigation scenarios.
Bigham, Jeffrey P., Chisholm, Wendy and Ladner, Richard E. (2010): WebAnywhere: experiences with a new delivery model for access technology. In: Proceedings of the 2010 International Cross-Disciplinary Conference on Web Accessibility W4A 2010. p. 15. Available online
In this paper we describe recent developments and our experiences in releasing WebAnywhere. WebAnywhere was originally designed as a web-based alternative to a traditional screen reader. It can be run on any computer without installing new software, making it ideal for use on-the-go or in libraries and schools where the appropriate access technology is unlikely to already be installed and where users do not have permission to install it. Since its initial release nearly two years ago, WebAnywhere has expanded from its original goal of supporting blind web users to become a platform for an array of technologies supporting access for people with disabilities.
Demir, Seniz, Oliver, David, Schwartz, Edward, Elzer, Stephanie, Carberry, Sandra and McCoy, Kathleen F. (2010): Interactive SIGHT into information graphics. In: Proceedings of the 2010 International Cross-Disciplinary Conference on Web Accessibility W4A 2010. p. 16. Available online
Information graphics (such as bar charts and line graphs) play a vital role in many multimodal documents. Unfortunately, visually impaired individuals who use screen reader programs to navigate through such documents have limited access to the graphics. This paper presents the Interactive SIGHT (Summarizing Information GrapHics Textually) system that provides visually impaired individuals with the high-level knowledge that one would gain from viewing graphics in electronic documents. The current system, which is implemented as a browser extension, works on simple bar charts. Once launched by a keystroke combination, Interactive SIGHT first provides a brief initial summary that conveys the underlying message of the bar chart along with the chart's most significant features. The system is then able to generate history-aware follow-up responses that provide further information upon request from the user. User evaluations with sighted and visually impaired users showed that the initial summary and follow-up responses are very effective in conveying the informational content of graphics and that the system interface is easy to use.
Champin, Pierre-Antoine, Encelle, Benoît, Evans, Nicholas W. D., O.-Beldame, A Magali, Prie, Yannick and Troncy, Raphaël (2010): Towards collaborative annotation for video accessibility. In: Proceedings of the 2010 International Cross-Disciplinary Conference on Web Accessibility W4A 2010. p. 17. Available online
The ACAV project aims to explore how the accessibility of web videos can be improved by providing rich descriptions of video content in order to personalize the rendering of the content according to user sensory deficiencies. We present a motivating scenario, the results of a preliminary study as well as the different technologies that will be developed.
Loughborough, William (2010): Dogfooding. In: Proceedings of the 2010 International Cross-Disciplinary Conference on Web Accessibility W4A 2010. p. 18. Available online
"Eat your own dog food" is sometimes used to encourage listeners to "practice what they preach." Because we are all members of one another, all in the same boat, etc. it should be obvious that to be effective in evangelizing for Web Accessibility for "All" we must recognize that it's not just for crips any more. We are compelled to practice "universal design" or something as close to it as we can. Some examples of our own failure to "dogfood" are: We have had, little to do with the Deaf community and only pay lip service to addressing the needs of people with so-called "learning disabilities" or "cognitive impairments". This is a call to action for all of us to do what we know works best: "each one teach one (or more)" as a routine part of our effort. I call on all of us to begin making this evangelism flourish. We cannot stand idly by as the human rights of our clients / associates / colleagues are violated.
Vanderheiden, Gregg (2010): Building national public infrastructures on our way to a global inclusive infrastructure. In: Proceedings of the 2010 International Cross-Disciplinary Conference on Web Accessibility W4A 2010. p. 19. Available online
Broadband technologies are rapidly becoming integral to education, commerce, employment, community participation, health and safety Yet there remain multiple barriers to effective and affordable access by people with disabilities, elder, or those with low literacy creating an increasing digital divide. There are assistive technologies that can provide access for some. However it is not available for all disabilities, not affordable by many, and lags mainstream developments and deployments. Even when the latest AT is close to the latest IT, few people have the latest version. The cost of keeping up with mainstream technologies reduces resources available for innovation in assistive technologies and new directions in broadband technologies will require an already strapped AT industry to retool and re-architect their products. We are moving to an ICT environment with a profusion of hardware models (desktop, laptop, netbook, smartphone, tablet, set top box, game systems, players), multiple operating systems (Windows, Mac, Linux, Chrome OS, iPhone, Android, Windows Mobile, Symbian, Maemo (Nokia), Bada (Samsung), WebOS, etc.), hundreds of software applications that embed another universe of widgets, plug-ins, and players, and a networked information environment that adheres to no standard and mutates far beyond the initial conception of the Web. Our current access technologies and infrastructure cannot handle this; the assistive technologies that now exist do not address all disabilities well, particularly cognitive, language, and learning disabilities, deaf-blindness and the mixed problems faced by elders; current assistive technologies often add, rather than reduce, complexity; finally, but importantly, people are not aware of what is possible, see it as complicated, and do not have any easy way to determine that there is something that can help them A coalition of academic, industry and non-governmental organizations and individuals are coming together to promote the creation of a National Public Inclusive Infrastructure (NPII) to address these problems. The purpose is to ensure that everyone who faces accessibility barriers due to disability, literacy or aging, regardless of economic status, can access and use the Internet and all its information, communities, and services for education, employment, daily living, civic participation, health and safety. An NPII would provide key software enhancements to the physical infrastructure to allow lower cost accessibility that could be invoked on any computer, anywhere. Its key components would be a cloud based delivery system that would allow anywhere, any computer access, a personal preference system to allow systems to automatically configure themselves to users, a system of wizards to make creation of a preference profile simple even when a professional is not available, a metadata server to allow users to find accessible media or captions or descriptions for inaccessible media, a trusted source for malware free solutions, a rich development environment with common building blocks, and an awareness program to make more people aware of what is possible for them. All of the NPII components are being designed to support both commercial assistive technologies and free, built-in access features (universal design). The NPII will include a delivery system, personalization profiles and a rich development system and common modules. In addition to lowering development costs and increasing the number of solutions for different disabilities, the NPII can also enable new types of assistive technologies and services, including assistance-on-demand services that allow consumers to invoke computer or human assistance whenever and wherever they need it. The goal is a richer set of access options that it is less expensive to create and distribute and that can address the needs of a wider range of disabilities than is possible today. And a model infrastructure that can be replicated internationally and bring this wide variety of access options and the lower cost delivery system for both commercial and free access features to countries world-wide.
Kumar, Arun, Agarwal, Sheetal K. and Manwani, Priyanka (2010): The spoken web application framework: user generated content and service creation through low-end mobiles. In: Proceedings of the 2010 International Cross-Disciplinary Conference on Web Accessibility W4A 2010. p. 2. Available online
While the word 'accessibility' seems to require a new definition in the context of making Web available in developing regions, we propose to expand the definition of 'Web' itself in the same context. The prevalent definition of Web as a system of interlinked textual documents available on the Internet and accessed through a web browser, needs to be modified to include new types of hyperlinked content and new access mechanisms. Spoken Web is emerging as an alternate web for the underprivileged by breaking barriers of illiteracy, affordability and local languages. It is envisioned as being complementary to the existing Web and navigable entirely through a voice based interface using an ordinary telephone. In this paper, we present Spoken Web Application Framework (SWAF) -- a framework for enabling creation of sites in Spoken Web through a simple voice interaction over an ordinary phone call. This unique novelty of SWAF provides an extremely simplified service creation ability using voice interaction rather than through programming by IT experts thus enabling a new software development paradigm. It is meant to be a platform for making the power of Web technologies become accessible to the next billion IT users of the world. We present the architecture, design and implementation of the SWAF framework.
Carter, William S. (2010): Enabling the blind in virtual worlds. In: Proceedings of the 2010 International Cross-Disciplinary Conference on Web Accessibility W4A 2010. p. 20. Available online
The ongoing proliferation of virtual world applications present unusual accessibility challenges for blind computer users. IBM has implemented experimental techniques to address some of them, and the techniques are described and demonstrated.
Oktay, Bugra and Folmer, Eelke (2010): TextSL: a screen reader accessible interface for second life. In: Proceedings of the 2010 International Cross-Disciplinary Conference on Web Accessibility W4A 2010. p. 21. Available online
TextSL is a screen reader accessible interface for the popular virtual world of Second Life that lets the users interact using a command-based interface. Our research identified that it is challenging to make virtual worlds accessible to users with visual impairments as virtual worlds are densely populated with objects while at the same time many virtual world objects lack meta-data.
Brown, Andy, Jay, Caroline and Harper, Simon (2010): Tailored presentation of dynamic content. In: Proceedings of the 2010 International Cross-Disciplinary Conference on Web Accessibility W4A 2010. p. 22. Available online
The advent of 'Web 2.0' and Web applications means that documents often are not static, but update, either automatically or as a result of user interaction. This development poses a difficult question for screen reader designers: how should users be notified of page changes? The SASWAT Web browser is a self-voicing screen reading extension to the Firefox Web browser, based upon Fire Vox. It uses a set of rules, derived from studies of how sighted users interact with such content, that allow the presentation of updates to be tailored according to the way in which they were initiated, the effect they have on the page, and their content. These should allow users to deal with page changes in a more natural and more efficient manner.
Gay, Greg and Li, Cindy Qi (2010): AChecker: open, interactive, customizable, web accessibility checking. In: Proceedings of the 2010 International Cross-Disciplinary Conference on Web Accessibility W4A 2010. p. 23. Available online
Given Web accessibility checkers often produce different results when analysing the same Web content, it is difficult to know for sure whether they are correctly applying accessibility guidelines. The AChecker, Open Source, Web Accessibility Checker was developed to make accessibility analysis transparent so that users can understand exactly how accessibility is being assessed.
Visual information pervades our environment. Vision is used to decide everything from what we want to eat at a restaurant and which bus route to take to whether our clothes match and how long until the milk expires. Individually, the inability to interpret such visual information is a nuisance for blind people who often have effective, if inefficient, work-arounds to overcome them. Collectively, however, they can make blind people less independent. Specialized technology addresses some problems in this space, but automatic approaches cannot yet answer the vast majority of visual questions that blind people may have. VizWiz addresses this shortcoming by using the Internet connections and cameras on existing smartphones to connect blind people and their questions to remote paid workers' answers. VizWiz is designed to have low latency and low cost, making it both competitive with expensive automatic solutions and much more versatile.
Kaklanis, Nikolaos, Votis, Konstantinos, Moustakas, Konstantinos and Tzovaras, Dimitrios (2010): 3D HapticWebBrowser: towards universal web navigation for the visually impaired. In: Proceedings of the 2010 International Cross-Disciplinary Conference on Web Accessibility W4A 2010. p. 25. Available online
When viewed at a macroscopic scale, an interesting emergent property of the Web is that it constantly evolves towards being the most important entry point for information production and consumption by everyone. This purpose is defeated right if a single user with a disability cannot access a given piece of information on the Web. However, information on the Web is graphically-orientated and in most cases visually impaired users have very restricted access and find it difficult to recognize this kind of visual representation. For visually impaired people and especially for blind users alternative information presentation ways must be found, which would replace visual information. 3D HapticWebBrowser, is a free open source web browser to address the problems of visually impaired in accessing the Web. Issues of multimodal interaction and haptic technologies enable universal navigation of web pages and efficient map exploration of preferable 2D maps.
Yan, Shunguo (2010): SourceProbe: web accessibility remediation framework. In: Proceedings of the 2010 International Cross-Disciplinary Conference on Web Accessibility W4A 2010. p. 26. Available online
Web accessibility remediation process consists of four phases: validation, source identification, fix, and redeployment. Traditionally, each phase has been done separately and often manually. The root cause of an error in a web page, which is often in a server-side source, is undiscoverable. The fix is usually done in the HTML source from a browser, and is only available to that browser. This paper describes Web Accessibility Remediation Framework (code-name SourceProbe) architecture. The framework consists of components to identify and fix the root cause of an accessibility error in a web page and automate the four phases of the remediation process to reduce the cost.
Yesilada, Yeliz, Chen, Tianyi and Harper, Simon (2010): A simple solution: solution migration from disabled to small device context. In: Proceedings of the 2010 International Cross-Disciplinary Conference on Web Accessibility W4A 2010. p. 27. Available online
Our studies with small-device users show that they experience common input errors with motor impaired Desktop users. When small-device users are mobile their error rates increase to the same magnitude with, in some cases higher than, that of motor impaired desktop users. To address such common errors, we propose migrating solutions from motor impaired to small-device users domain. To demonstrate the benefits of such solution migration, we propose a prototype system that encodes solutions for long key press error, bounce error, additional key error, and key ambiguity error. This paper is different from other challenge papers as it does not demonstrate a prototype for disabled users, but it demonstrates how research and development for disabled users can benefit all.
Sato, Daisuke, Kobayashi, Masatomo, Takagi, Hironobu and Asakawa, Chieko (2010): Social accessibility: the challenge of improving web accessibility through collaboration. In: Proceedings of the 2010 International Cross-Disciplinary Conference on Web Accessibility W4A 2010. p. 28. Available online
There are billions of people who face problems in accessing webpages, including people with disabilities, elderly people, and illiterate people in developing countries. The needs for accessible webpages have become too broad to be left only to Web developers. The wisdom of crowds has become part of a key strategy to combine various skills and knowledge into a community that can address the needs for accessibility. Social Accessibility is one such project for visually impaired people, which has been operating for more than a year, producing findings and new challenges. Based on our experiences, the collaborative approach can work well and be expanded for people with other problems such as poor hearing, aged eyes, and reading problems.
Kobayashi, Masatomo, Nagano, Tohru, Fukuda, Kentarou and Takagi, Hironobu (2010): Describing online videos with text-to-speech narration. In: Proceedings of the 2010 International Cross-Disciplinary Conference on Web Accessibility W4A 2010. p. 29. Available online
Most online videos are inaccessible for blind and visually impaired people. Those who are illiterate or barely literate also face difficulties with many videos. An audio description (AD) can help, but is rarely provided for actual online videos because of the time and trouble required. The technology platform we are developing uses a speech synthesis technology to add ADs to online videos at minimal cost. We are developing an authoring tool for AD scripts, a Web browser for playing the described videos, and a text-based format to handle the AD scripts.
Kelly, Brian, Lewthwaite, Sarah and Sloan, David (2010): Developing countries; developing experiences: approaches to accessibility for the real world. In: Proceedings of the 2010 International Cross-Disciplinary Conference on Web Accessibility W4A 2010. p. 3. Available online
The need for developing countries to consider appropriate strategies for enhancing access to networked resources by disabled people provides an opportunity to assess the merits and limitations of the approaches which have been taken in western countries. This paper reviews the limitations of dependence on a constrained technical definition of accessibility, and builds on previous work which developed a holistic approach to Web accessibility and a generic model to assist policy makers in understanding the complexities of addressing Web accessibility. We explore how such approaches can be deployed by practitioners and developers with responsibilities for the deployment of Web services within the context of limited resources, flawed technologies, conflicting priorities and debates within disability studies on the nature of disability. A pragmatic framework is presented which supports promotion of digital accessibility within a wider social inclusion context. It learns from past difficulties and aims to assist policy makers and practitioners across the world in decision-making when seeking to deploy accessible Web-based services within the context of limited resources, conflicting priorities and the limitations of technical accessibility guidelines.
Kumar, Arun, Agarwal, Sheetal K., Manwani, Priyanka and Dhanesha, Ketki (2010): (Voice) website creation and access using phones. In: Proceedings of the 2010 International Cross-Disciplinary Conference on Web Accessibility W4A 2010. p. 30. Available online
Several attempts have been made and many more are underway to make the existing Web content accessible to all. Such systems, by definition, follow the adapter approach where a legacy system is adapted to meet unforeseen and unplanned requirements. Given the approach, it most often results in solutions that are either non-natural or solve part of the problem. Second, while lot of efforts have gone into making content accessible, relatively less efforts have been put into enabling currently incapable people to create and generate their own accessible content. In this challenge paper, we present demonstration of creation of (voice) websites through simple voice interaction system over a phone call. Such an easy interaction enables even non-literate people to be able to generate and make available their own content, in their local language.
Brown, Andy, Jay, Caroline and Harper, Simon (2010): Audio access to calendars. In: Proceedings of the 2010 International Cross-Disciplinary Conference on Web Accessibility W4A 2010. p. 31. Available online
The rise of 'Web 2.0' has brought a much more interactive aspect to the Web: users are no longer just reading pages, but creating them, modifying them, and interacting with them. The Web is increasingly becoming the preferred means of communication, and particularly booking events and appointments; online personal and corporate diaries allow friends and colleagues to arrange meetings and coordinate activities. Many of these types of online activities require users to perform the apparently simple task of entering a date. For sighted people who have access to pop-up calendars, selecting a date is quick and easy. Unfortunately, this facility is not currently available to people with visual impairments, for whom entering a correctly formatted date can be a difficult and time-consuming task, with mistakes having potentially serious consequences. Here we describe the process by which we designed and evaluated an audio interface for entering dates. An eye-tracking study gave insight into how tabular calendars help sighted people enter dates, This understanding was used to design an audio interface that used the cognitive advantages of the visual design, rather than mimicking the visual representation. Iterative testing was followed by an evaluation using participants with visual impairments that highlighted the problems with manual date entry, and which showed the audio system to be effective and popular.
Trewin, Shari, Cragun, Brian, Swart, Cal, Brezin, Jonathan and Richards, John (2010): Accessibility challenges and tool features: an IBM Web developer perspective. In: Proceedings of the 2010 International Cross-Disciplinary Conference on Web Accessibility W4A 2010. p. 32. Available online
Using evidence from a survey of 49 IBM Web developers we explore two concerns: barriers to the developers' designing accessible Web-based products, and what value they felt specific features in an "accessibility" tool might have. They found designing for accessibility difficult, but more surprisingly, they found using the test tools and finding technology work-arounds equally hard. Testing and finding work-arounds were also the most time consuming aspects of accessibility, while design was not. When asked about tool features, all agreed that a checklist of automatically detected problems and an explanation of each problem were the most important. There were fifteen features in all, and the more experienced the developer, the more they valued the other features, particularly being able to experience a site as someone with a particular disability would, and being able to pinpoint a problem on the rendered view of a page. The survey results suggest existing tools are often unclear, cumbersome, and incomplete with respect to the standards that must be met.
Thiessen, Peter and Hockema, Stephen (2010): WAI-ARIA live regions: eBuddy IM as a case example. In: Proceedings of the 2010 International Cross-Disciplinary Conference on Web Accessibility W4A 2010. p. 33. Available online
Rich Internet Applications (RIAs) offer new levels of user interactivity through a Web browser. By combining semantics, style and behavior it is possible to create a RIA that can rival a traditional desktop application. Unfortunately, much of the information exposed through RIAs via dynamic Document Object Model (DOM) updates is not accessible. The W3C Web Accessibility Initiative -- Accessible Rich Internet Applications (WAI-ARIA) specification presents a solution for making these applications accessible through adding additional semantics to HTML. WAI-ARIA live regions are introduced as a technique to expose dynamic DOM updates to Assistive Technologies (AT). A live region use case, eBuddy Instant Messenger (IM), is presented as well as a tally queue to help aid a user in filtering trivial information announcements.
Lunn, Darren and Harper, Simon (2010): Using galvanic skin response measures to identify areas of frustration for older web 2.0 users. In: Proceedings of the 2010 International Cross-Disciplinary Conference on Web Accessibility W4A 2010. p. 34. Available online
The World Wide Web (Web) is changing. The much vaunted Web 2.0 sees once static pages evolving into hybrid applications. Content that was once simple is now becoming increasingly complicated due to the many updating components located throughout the page. The information overload and visual complexity of such components is significant. This increased complexity can produce lower performance and higher levels of stress and frustration which negatively effect the user. In previous work we have shown how galvanic skin response (GSR) measurements, collected in tandem with eye-tracking data, can be used as a method for determining how stressed users become when interacting with content. The results of that study demonstrated that when used appropriately, the presence of Web 2.0 content can reduce GSR measurements and be of benefit to users. In this work, the previous study was repeated with twenty-three older Web users to establish if similar patterns of interaction could be established. The results reveal that while older participants made use of dynamic content, unlike previous participants, they were a non-homogenous group with a large variance in the GSR measurements. We assert that a cause of this is hesitancy and therefore developing techniques to reduce hesitancy will benefit older users when interacting with Web 2.0 content.
Sloan, David, Atkinson, Matthew Tylee, Machin, Colin and Li, Yunqiu (2010): The potential of adaptive interfaces as an accessibility aid for older web users. In: Proceedings of the 2010 International Cross-Disciplinary Conference on Web Accessibility W4A 2010. p. 35. Available online
Supporting effective and enjoyable Web usage by people with sensory, motor and cognitive impairments requires more than just accessible Web content. There is an additional task of matching people with an accessibility solution that best accommodates their particular needs -- which, especially for older Web users, may fluctuate in severity, number and combination. Lack of awareness of one's own accessibility needs and the solutions that may exist to accommodate them may lead to a reduced quality Web browsing experience or even abandonment. This paper discusses the difficulties in matching people with less severe, but multiple, impairments with the most appropriate accessibility features at a given time, and explores the role of automated or semi-automated adaptations as a solution for this problem. We review related work, and report on the early stages of our own work conducted to prove the concept of adaptations for accessibility in the specific context of supporting Web users with age-related capability decline. We also consider the potential ethical issues of automated and semi-automated accessibility adaptations on the wellbeing of older Web users, and how these might best be managed in a suitably sensitive way.
Trewin, Shari, Bellamy, Rachel, Thomas, John, Brezin, Jonathan, Richards, John, Swart, Cal and John, Bonnie E. (2010): Designing for auditory web access: accessibility and cellphone users. In: Proceedings of the 2010 International Cross-Disciplinary Conference on Web Accessibility W4A 2010. p. 4. Available online
Low-end mobile phones are becoming generally available throughout the world and the main window onto the Web. A large constituency for Web access is being created whose experience Web designers are not familiar with, particularly because of the central role of auditory, rather than visual access. This is analogous to problems faced by visually impaired users, where again Web designers have an audience whose experience they rarely share. One might think that proven design practices of working directly with users or intermediaries would be effective, but we argue that in these situations they are difficult to apply, not least because of the distance geographically and culturally from the users. We therefore present alternative ways for developers to gain insight into the experience of auditory access. We also discuss the potential of tools and resources such as simulations of an auditory interaction with the Web and illustrate how these can help -- particularly with early stage design. Successful simulations can reduce the cost and effort needed to design a usable auditory Web experience, and as a bonus, the insights gained often improve a site for many other users as well.
Abou-Zahra, Shadi and Henry, Shawn Lawton (2010): Exploring web accessibility solutions in developing regions as innovations for the benefit of all. In: Proceedings of the 2010 International Cross-Disciplinary Conference on Web Accessibility W4A 2010. p. 5. Available online
Accessibility solutions for people with disabilities are key drivers for innovation and technology. Developing accessibility solutions benefits everyone and adds to the quality of all our lives. This communication paper explores some of the web accessibility challenges for people with disabilities in developing regions and discusses how accessibility solutions for these users would benefit many other users, regardless of abilities, age, skills, education, languages, cultures, economics, and devices.
Naftali, Maia (2010): Analysis and integration of web accessibility metrics. In: Proceedings of the 2010 International Cross-Disciplinary Conference on Web Accessibility W4A 2010. p. 6. Available online
"Analysis and Integration of Web Accessibility Metrics" was presented as a grade thesis. It included the development of "OceanAcc", an evaluation and analysis tool that performs a semi-automatic evaluation process. With little user intervention, can give quantitative information about the accessibility of a web page. Many of the metrics published in papers couldn't be found at most of the common accessibility validators. OceanAcc integrates an existing validator, Achecker , with the known metrics UWEM, Failure Rate, and WAB Score,  and the barrier-checkpoint mapping proposed by Giorgio Brajnik in his work "Barrier Walkthrough (2004)". It also has one custom metric, and many reports: metric evolution of a page, most violated checkpoint, a barrier ranking, and the percentage of users with different disabilities affected by the page. These reports help optimizing a later manual testing, focusing the human tester in the most important problems. The goal was also to make a comfortable and easy to use application that could generate results fast. User intervention is needed to filter the automatic results that are false positives, or don't apply in the context. (It happens for example with tables and other elements that can be accessible and fail anyway). Automatic assessment is not enough, and cannot be created by automatic means alone.  This idea could encourage enterprises and individuals to take accessibility as a quality attribute, having a simplified, measurable and cost reduced testing process.
Watanabe, Willian Massami (2010): Facilita: reading assistance to the functionally illiterate. In: Proceedings of the 2010 International Cross-Disciplinary Conference on Web Accessibility W4A 2010. p. 7. Available online
In Brazil, 21.7% of the population is classified as functional illiterate (defined by UNESCO as the percentage of the population aged 15 or over with less than 4 years of study) . These individuals present difficulties to understand texts depending on their size and complexity and, by doing so, have restricted access to the technologies that use texts as the primary means of communication. The pre-eminent reference when considering Web accessibility , WCAG (Web Content Accessibility Guidelines) already has presented recommendations that address the difficulties faced by those users (functional illiterate), who have difficulty in reading. However, the WCAG model of accessibility requires a manual implementation of technological and design solutions by Web developers and content authors . Therefore, there is no guarantee that the guidelines will be followed. Freire et al., for example, conducted a survey about accessibility awareness of people involved in Web development in Brazil  and an accessibility evaluation of Brazilian Municipalities websites . Their conclusions were that web accessibility is far from being actually considered in Brazil and that much work remains to be done. It is worth noticing that WCAG documents address not only structure and technological aspects. Guideline 14 in WCAG 1.0 (to ensure that documents are clear and simple) and Guideline 3.1 (to make text content readable and understandable) in WCAG 2.0, for example, provide recommendations about how the content should be made available to users. However, Web developers are not always responsible for content preparation and authoring in a Website. Moreover, in the "Web 2.0" context, in which users, without any prior knowledge about the guidelines, directly participate on the content authoring process of Web applications, it becomes extremely difficult to develop completely WCAG conformant Websites. In this context, I am developing the Facilita application. The Facilita is a Web applications that aims at facilitating reading of Portuguese textual content of Web sites and applications. Facilita acts as an assistive technology assisting users to read textual content available on the Web, applying NLP (Natural Language processing) operations (Syntactic Simplification , Automatic Summarization , Lexical Elaboration and Named entities recognition ) on the text. The NLP operations are used as a form of automatically adapting Web sites possibly inaccessible textual content, available on Web applications, in accessible textual content. Facilita is part of a bigger project -- PorSimples  -- on Text Simplification for Brazilian Portuguese language, which aims at producing tools for aiding web text authors to produce simpler texts and for assisting (poor) readers to have access to relevant written material. Facilita have already being deployed in two different versions: * Facilita: implements the Syntactic Simplification and Automatic Summarization operations. Available at: http://vinho.intermi-dia.icmc.usp.br:3001. * Educational Facilita: implements the Lexical Elaboration and Named Entities Recognition operations. Available at: http://vinho.intermidia.icmc.usp.br-/watinha/Educational-Facilita.
Watanabe, Willian M., Candido, Arnaldo, Amâncio, Marcelo A., Oliveira, Matheus de, Pardo, Thiago A. S., Fortes, Renata P. M. and Aluísio, Sandra M. (2010): Adapting web content for low-literacy readers by using lexical elaboration and named entities labeling. In: Proceedings of the 2010 International Cross-Disciplinary Conference on Web Accessibility W4A 2010. p. 8. Available online
In this paper we describe a web content adaptation tool for assisting low-literacy readers to access online information. The "Educational FACILITA" tool provides innovative features and the design of more intuitive interaction models. Especially, we propose an interaction model and web application that explore the Natural Language Processing tasks of lexical elaboration and named entity labeling for improving web accessibility.
Alonso, Fernando, Fuertes, José Luis, González, Ángel Lucas and Martínez, Loďc (2010): On the testability of WCAG 2.0 for beginners. In: Proceedings of the 2010 International Cross-Disciplinary Conference on Web Accessibility W4A 2010. p. 9. Available online
Web accessibility for people with disabilities is a highly visible area of research in the field of ICT accessibility, including many policy activities across many countries. The commonly accepted guidelines for web accessibility (WCAG 1.0) were published in 1999 and have been extensively used by designers, evaluators and legislators. W3C-WAI published a new version of these guidelines (WCAG 2.0) in December 2008. One of the main goals of WCAG 2.0 was testability, that is, WCAG 2.0 should be either machine testable or reliably human testable. In this paper we present an educational experiment performed during an intensive web accessibility course. The goal of the experiment was to assess the testability of the 25 level-A success criteria of WCAG 2.0 by beginners. To do this, the students had to manually evaluate the accessibility of the same web page. The result was that only eight success criteria could be considered to be reliably human testable when evaluators were beginners. We also compare our experiment with a similar study published recently. Our work is not a conclusive experiment, but it does suggest some parts of WCAG 2.0 to which special attention should be paid when training accessibility evaluators.
03 Nov 2010: Added 03 Nov 2010: Added 03 Nov 2010: Added 03 Nov 2010: Added 03 Nov 2010: Added 03 Nov 2010: Added 03 Nov 2010: Added 03 Nov 2010: Added 03 Nov 2010: Added 03 Nov 2010: Added 03 Nov 2010: Added 03 Nov 2010: Added 03 Nov 2010: Added 03 Nov 2010: Added 03 Nov 2010: Added 03 Nov 2010: Added 03 Nov 2010: Added 03 Nov 2010: Added 03 Nov 2010: Added 03 Nov 2010: Added 03 Nov 2010: Added 03 Nov 2010: Added 03 Nov 2010: Added 03 Nov 2010: Added 03 Nov 2010: Added 03 Nov 2010: Added 03 Nov 2010: Added 03 Nov 2010: Added 03 Nov 2010: Added 03 Nov 2010: Added 03 Nov 2010: Added 03 Nov 2010: Added 03 Nov 2010: Added
Page maintainer: The Editorial Team