The old computing was about what computers could do; the new computing is about what users can do. Successful technologies are those that are in harmony with users' needs. They must support relationships and activities that enrich the users' experiences.
Proceedings of the 2011 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 2011 International Cross-Disciplinary Conference on Web Accessibility W4A":
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Gupta, Manish (2011): Spoken Web: a mobile cloud based parallel web for the masses. In: Proceedings of the 2011 International Cross-Disciplinary Conference on Web Accessibility W4A 2011. p. 1. Available online
In India and several other countries, most notably in Africa, the penetration of the personal computer and the internet remains relatively low. However, there has been a huge surge in the adoption of simple mobile phones (there are over 700 million mobile phone numbers in India), and this penetration continues to grow at a fast pace. We will present Spoken Web, an attempt to create a new world wide web for the masses in these countries, accessible over the telephone network and hosted in a cloud. The Spoken Web platform facilitates easy creation of user-generated content that populates 'voice sites', and allows contextual traversal of voice sites interconnected via hyperlinks based on the Hyperspeech Transfer Protocol. We present our experience from pilots conducted in villages in Andhra Pradesh, Gujarat, and other states in India. These pilots demonstrate the ease with which a semi-literate and non-IT savvy population can create voice sites with locally relevant content, including schedule of education/training classes, agricultural information, and entertainment related content, and their strong interest in accessing this information over the telephone network. We describe several outstanding challenges and opportunities in creating and using a Spoken Web for facilitating exchange of information and conducting business transactions.
Ruth-Janneck, Diana (2011): An integrative accessibility engineering approach using multidimensional classifications of barriers in the web. In: Proceedings of the 2011 International Cross-Disciplinary Conference on Web Accessibility W4A 2011. p. 10. Available online
This paper proposes classifications of barriers in various dimensions we registered in the German study "Web2.0/Accessible" regarding the use of web2.0 applications by persons with disabilities [1, 2]. These classifications define dimensions and aspects of barriers, which can be used for the development and evaluation of web applications concerning accessibility issues. Various categories of disabilities and their usage pattern concerning web applications are included in the study for the first time. Decision makers, web developers and editors are able to deduce which barriers emerge and how they can be overcome. A contribution to the conception, design and evaluation of accessible web applications is made with the help of these classifications. Due to the integration of the data into a proven process model, an integrative accessibility engineering approach is enabled and presented here.
Stilan, Eric, Chen, Amy and Bezuayehu, Lulit (2011): Accessible icon design in enterprise applications. In: Proceedings of the 2011 International Cross-Disciplinary Conference on Web Accessibility W4A 2011. p. 11. Available online
We describe the challenges of designing accessible icons in enterprise software applications, such as designing status and severity indicators that retain meaning in a small 16x16 pixel icon without using color as the only visual means of conveying information. We describe the challenges of designing accessible icons in enterprise software applications, such as designing status and severity indicators that retain meaning in a small 16x16 pixel icon without using color as the only visual means of conveying information.
Carrico, Luis, Lopes, Rui and Bandeira, Rogério (2011): Crosschecking the mobile web for people with visual impairments. In: Proceedings of the 2011 International Cross-Disciplinary Conference on Web Accessibility W4A 2011. p. 12. Available online
This paper presents a reflection on the assessment of mobile Web content for people with disabilities. It proposes a rationale for an evaluation framework considering: (1) the coherent merge of state of the art guidelines on Web accessibility and mobile best practices; and (2) the usage of current and prospective practices particularly for people with visual impairments. It also presents the preliminary results of a questionnaire that validates that rationale laying the grounds for a coherent evaluation approach.
White, Bebo (2011): Accessibility challenges of the next decade: cloud and mobile computing and beyond. In: Proceedings of the 2011 International Cross-Disciplinary Conference on Web Accessibility W4A 2011. p. 13. Available online
A valuable body of research and best practices has been developed to address Web Accessibility to insure that all users of the technology have equal access to information and functionality. Significant effort has led to the development of rigorous guidelines addressing this goal. However substantial challenges lay ahead as the Web moves beyond the desktop and computing models evolve. Cloud computing promises that unlimited access to computing resources (processing power, storage, etc.) will be ubiquitous, economical and available to all. Mobile computers in the form of smart phones and tablets already surpass in sheer numbers all other computing systems. What will the challenges be to insure that cloud and mobile computing systems are genuinely accessible? What lessons can be learned from the Web accessibility efforts?
Topac, Vasile (2011): Towards a universal accessibility for textual information. In: Proceedings of the 2011 International Cross-Disciplinary Conference on Web Accessibility W4A 2011. p. 14. Available online
This paper describes how the major textual information representations and access limitations can be structured in a universal view. A web platform composed of web services and technologies is proposed as a solution for the identified access limitations. The importance of web services orchestration is emphasized in order to obtain novel and useful results in the area of accessibility. Other benefits, like universal accessibility evaluation, resulting from this universal view are listed.
Conway, Vivienne L. (2011): Website accessibility in Australia and the Australian Government's National Transition Strategy. In: Proceedings of the 2011 International Cross-Disciplinary Conference on Web Accessibility W4A 2011. p. 15. Available online
The Australian Government has implemented the Web Accessibility National Transition Strategy (NTS) which mandates compliance with WCAG 2.0. Those sites not covered by the NTS fall within the purview of the Australian Human Rights guidelines, which recommend WCAG 2.0 AA as a minimum standard. This research will assess this strategy over the period of its implementation as well as building a framework to assist other organisations in their efforts to build more accessible websites.
Lunn, Darren and Harper, Simon (2011): Improving the accessibility of dynamic web content for older users. In: Proceedings of the 2011 International Cross-Disciplinary Conference on Web Accessibility W4A 2011. p. 16. Available online
The Web is changing. The much vaunted Web 2.0 sees once static pages evolving into hybrid applications. Content that was once simple to surf is now becoming increasingly complicated due to the many areas of dynamic content "dotted" throughout the page. In previous studies, we have shown that unlike younger users, older users have more varied interaction patterns when using dynamic content. In addition, some older users are not aware of what to expect when interacting with dynamic content and show signs of hesitancy and uncertainty when completing tasks. In this paper, we present a tool designed to assist older uses as they use Web 2.0 content and reduce the hesitancy and frustration that was previously identified.
This paper presents the web-based educational services included in the APEINTA project. The main aim of APEINTA is to avoid barriers among the students and the education. Taking into account the advantage of cloud computing paradigm, the next web-based services are proposed: First, a captioning service, so students with hearing disabilities, for instance, could access to the verbatim speech of the teachers, even in a remote location; Second, a text-to-speech service, so students with speaking problems could participate in the class or in oral discussions or meetings, for instance, just writing in their personal devices; Third, a web-based educational system, so every student can access the pedagogical resources with time and location independency.
Garaventa, Bryan (2011): The AccDC enterprise API for advanced UI automation. In: Proceedings of the 2011 International Cross-Disciplinary Conference on Web Accessibility W4A 2011. p. 18. Available online
This paper describes the purpose and functionality of the AccDC Enterprise API for Advanced UI Automation at WhatSock.com, which was founded to promote the concept and utilization of Automatically Accessible Technologies ("AAT") as an attainable global standard.
Oikonomou, Theofanis, Kaklanis, Nikolaos, Votis, Konstantinos, Kastori, Grammati-Eirini, Partarakis, Nikolaos and Tzovaras, Dimitrios (2011): WaaT: personalised web accessibility evaluation tool. In: Proceedings of the 2011 International Cross-Disciplinary Conference on Web Accessibility W4A 2011. p. 19. Available online
Our approach introduces an advanced and new personalized Web accessibility evaluation methodology, allowing for Web content accessibility evaluation regarding different selectable disability profiles (impairments, personas) as well as Assistive technologies and devices. We define an evaluation approach based on the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines 2.0 and the Barrier Walkthrough, with the goal of providing support to Web developers and designers to conduct rapid, yet specialized, accessibility assessments focused on different disability types and user preferences for Web applications.
Bailey, Christopher and Pearson, Elaine (2011): Development and trial of an educational tool to support the accessibility evaluation process. In: Proceedings of the 2011 International Cross-Disciplinary Conference on Web Accessibility W4A 2011. p. 2. Available online
This paper describes the design and 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 software incorporates a structured walkthrough approach to guide the auditor through a series of checks for established accessibility principles with the goal of conducting a comprehensive accessibility evaluation. The tool also offers the functionality to tailor the evaluation and prioritise checks based on the needs of two different user groups, or the specific content features of the website. The tool has recently been trialled with a group of 38 undergraduate computing students studying an Accessibility and Adaptive Technologies module with the aim of assessing its reliability and accuracy to validate the method. Some initial conclusions about the reliability and validity of the method and the pedagogical implications of the tool are presented. The results will help highlight the checks that can easily be verified by novices, and those that require a more detailed understanding of accessibility; require informed judgement; or are open to individual interpretation.
Kaklanis, Nikolaos, Votis, Konstantinos, Moschonas, Panagiotis and Tzovaras, Dimitrios (2011): HapticRiaMaps: towards interactive exploration of web world maps for the visually impaired. In: Proceedings of the 2011 International Cross-Disciplinary Conference on Web Accessibility W4A 2011. p. 20. Available online
Existing information on the Web and especially maps are 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. We investigate the potential role of haptics in augmenting the visualization of maps exist on the Web. HapticRiaMaps is a free open source web application enforces the accessibility of maps for the visually impaired users. Issues of multimodal interaction, relevant sonifications, and haptic technologies enable efficient map exploration of preferable and well known 2D maps (retrieves maps from OpenStreetMap web application).
Mangiatordi, Andrea and Sareen, Harpreet Singh (2011): Farfalla project: browser-based accessibility solutions. In: Proceedings of the 2011 International Cross-Disciplinary Conference on Web Accessibility W4A 2011. p. 21. Available online
Traditionally, Assistive Technology is deeply linked to the particular system on which a single solution runs. Cloud computing seems to be a promising approach, since solutions and services are no longer tied to a particular system. The Farfalla project is a step towards cloud-based Assistive Technology, for the creation of an inclusive web where accessibility solutions can be deployed together with contents.
Wald, M. (2011): Crowdsourcing correction of speech recognition captioning errors. In: Proceedings of the 2011 International Cross-Disciplinary Conference on Web Accessibility W4A 2011. p. 22. Available online
In this paper, we describe a tool that facilitates crowdsourcing correction of speech recognition captioning errors to provide a sustainable method of making videos accessible to people who find it difficult to understand speech through hearing alone. In this paper, we describe a tool that facilitates crowdsourcing correction of speech recognition captioning errors to provide a sustainable method of making videos accessible to people who find it difficult to understand speech through hearing alone.
Wald, M., Draffan, E. A., Skuse, S., Newman, R. and Phethean, C. (2011): Southampton accessibility tools. In: Proceedings of the 2011 International Cross-Disciplinary Conference on Web Accessibility W4A 2011. p. 23. Available online
In this paper, we describe three tools that facilitate 'crowdsourcing' open source development to help overcome accessibility, usability and productivity issues identified by disabled students.
Kanvinde, Gaurang and Gupta, Saurabh (2011): AccessibleNews DAISY: newspapers in DAISY. In: Proceedings of the 2011 International Cross-Disciplinary Conference on Web Accessibility W4A 2011. p. 24. Available online
Reading newspapers and magazines becomes difficult and dreary task for people with visual impairment and print disabilities. As a result, this important avenue for increasing awareness and knowledge remains largely closed to such people. In this paper, we describe an elegant solution to this challenge -- the AccessibleNews DAISY software developed by Accessible Systems, an Assistive Technology firm based in Mumbai, India.
Ferres, Leo and Sepúlveda, Jose Fuentes (2011): Improving accessibility to mathematical formulas: the Wikipedia math accessor. In: Proceedings of the 2011 International Cross-Disciplinary Conference on Web Accessibility W4A 2011. p. 25. Available online
Mathematics accessibility is an important topic for inclusive education. We tackle the problem of accessing a large repository of mathematical formulas, by providing a natural language description of the more than 350,000 Wikipedia formulas using a well-researched sub-language targetting Spanish speakers, for whom assistive technologies, particularly domain-specific technologies like the one described here, are scarce.
Luephattanasuk, Nathapong, Suchato, Atiwong and Punyabukkana, Proadpran (2011): Accessible QTI presentation for web-based e-learning. In: Proceedings of the 2011 International Cross-Disciplinary Conference on Web Accessibility W4A 2011. p. 26. Available online
Various guidelines for web accessibility have been issued to direct web developers to create web pages that deliver content to all. Although these guidelines cover most websites, there are some specific types of web pages that call for an extension of such guidelines. This research is dedicated to the improvement of accessibility of e-learning webs, particularly the examination portion. We chose IMS' Question and Test Interoperability specification (QTI) as a baseline framework, and extended it using Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) to ensure that we could generate questions for exams that are accessible by all. Specifically, we proposed a method to interpret question structure from QTI specification using WCAG to help in presenting the interpreted questions in an accessible format. Finally, we developed a prototype interpreting tool to check whether the accessibility of the interpreted question is compatible with NVDA screen reader software. The performance of the tool at this stage is promising.
Thiessen, Peter (2011): WAI-ARIA live regions and HTML5. In: Proceedings of the 2011 International Cross-Disciplinary Conference on Web Accessibility W4A 2011. p. 27. Available online
The W3C Web Accessibility Initiative -- Accessible Rich Internet Applications (WAI-ARIA) and HTML5 are exciting and relatively new specifications with many new semantics that together help describe the complex desktop like behavior found in many Web applications. One aspect of ARIA, Live Regions, define markup that an Assistive Technology can use to understand how to treat a Document Object Model (DOM) update. Past work has been done showing live regions effectively expose DOM updates. However, little testing has been done on the combination of HTML5 elements with live region attributes. Test cases as well as the results of the test cases and vendor support are discussed in this paper.
Brown, Andy and Harper, Simon (2011): AJAX time machine. In: Proceedings of the 2011 International Cross-Disciplinary Conference on Web Accessibility W4A 2011. p. 28. Available online
Many modern Web pages update parts of their content, and this is often automatic. This allows a 'clean' user-interface and information-rich pages. Keeping up with updates or recovering from mistakes can be a problem, however, as it is often not possible to revert a page to a previous state. This can be particularly problematic for users with poor literacy or cognitive disabilities, the elderly, or for users of assistive technologies. For pages that use these technologies to be truly accessible for all, they must afford users sufficient control over updates, to allow them to read and use the information available before it disappears forever. While applying good practice during page design and implementation can provide this, there are many pages for which information changes too rapidly for the user. We propose to supplement assistive technologies with a Web page 'time machine' that will allow users to review all the states a page has been in, and to step backwards or forwards through these states at their own pace.
King, Neil and McCormack, Damien (2011): Accessibility approach to adopting web technologies. In: Proceedings of the 2011 International Cross-Disciplinary Conference on Web Accessibility W4A 2011. p. 29. Available online
As new web-based technologies emerge the challenge to make them accessible to people with disabilities intensifies. This communication paper discusses the findings of an Australian assessment of the technical accessibility of the Portable Document Format (PDF), and the user experience by 23 people with a disability. The questions posed and answered by this research in relation to PDF are the same questions that are asked of any web technology, and the same challenges will apply. This paper puts forward a number of recommendations based on the research to enable governments to take an inclusive approach towards the adoption of web-based technologies in the future.
Fuertes, José L., Gutiérrez, Emmanuelle and Martínez, Loïc (2011): Developing Hera-FFX for WCAG 2.0. In: Proceedings of the 2011 International Cross-Disciplinary Conference on Web Accessibility W4A 2011. p. 3. Available online
WCAG 2.0 was published in December 2008. It has many differences to WCAG 1.0 as to rationale, structure and content. Two years later there are still few tools supporting WCAG 2.0, and none of them fully mirrors the WCAG 2.0 approach organized around principles, guidelines, success criteria, situations and techniques. This paper describes the on-going development of an update to the Hera-FFX Firefox extension to support WCAG 2.0. The description is focused on the challenges that we have found and our resulting decisions.
Al-Khalifa, Atheer S. and Al-Khalifa, Hend S. (2011): An educational tool for generating inaccessible page examples based on WCAG 2.0 failures. In: Proceedings of the 2011 International Cross-Disciplinary Conference on Web Accessibility W4A 2011. p. 30. Available online
One of the problems encountered while teaching web accessibility evaluation to undergraduate students is the lack of proper educational tools that support learning accessibility barriers modularly. This paper presents an online educational tool called Accessibility Example Generator (AEG), designed to assist instructors in the process of creating examples of inaccessible web pages that violate the accessibility guidelines of WCAG 2.0. The online tool supports generating the examples in a form which can be received and reviewed easily by undergraduate computing students. By using a sequence of tailored checks, the instructor can choose which failure or combination of failures the example should include. Utilizing such a tool while teaching web accessibility will enrich the learning and understanding of WCAG 2.0 guidelines through generating modular examples that will not overwhelm the student and at the same time will help spread the knowledge of accessibility through future developers.
Bahram, Sina, Sen, Debadeep and Amant, Robert St. (2011): Prediction of web page accessibility based on structural and textual features. In: Proceedings of the 2011 International Cross-Disciplinary Conference on Web Accessibility W4A 2011. p. 31. Available online
In this paper we present an approach to assessing the accessibility of Web pages, based on machine learning techniques. We are interested in the question of whether there are structural and textual features of Web pages, independent of explicit accessibility concerns, that nevertheless influence their usability for people with vision impairment. We describe three datasets, each containing a set of features corresponding to Web pages that are "Accessible" or "Inaccessible". Three classifiers are used to predict the category of these Web pages. Preliminary results are promising; they suggest the possibility of automated classification of Web pages with respect to accessibility.
Fernandes, Nádia, Lopes, Rui and Carrico, Luis (2011): On web accessibility evaluation environments. In: Proceedings of the 2011 International Cross-Disciplinary Conference on Web Accessibility W4A 2011. p. 4. Available online
Mirri, Silvia, Salomoni, Paola and Prandi, Catia (2011): Augment browsing and standard profiling for enhancing web accessibility. In: Proceedings of the 2011 International Cross-Disciplinary Conference on Web Accessibility W4A 2011. p. 5. Available online
The opportunity of effectively tailoring Web resources presentation -- depending on each single user needs and preferences -- represents a challenge and a necessity for accessibility and inclusion. On the Web, customizing means transcoding content according to some user and/or device (contextual) settings. Such a profiling refers to devices constraints, user habits, skills, different needs (or tastes) about interaction, in order to drive all the necessary procedures for content (re)shaping. The usual set up that users provide for assistive tools such as screen readers or speech-to-text applications, is a common practice (and a typical example) for a subjective, better enjoyment of resources. This work describes an augment browsing system, which allows users to set up their needs and preferences about Web pages presentation from the browser interface and is capable to automatically modify (transcode) content, according to such settings at client-side. The system is based on a widespread Web browser extension (GreaseMonkey) and well-known standards have been utilized to represent user's settings. Finally a case-study of the system has been assessed on a widespread social network, also taking into account some evaluations about accessibility by a group of blind persons.
Lai, Pauli P. Y. (2011): Application of content adaptation in web accessibility for the blind. In: Proceedings of the 2011 International Cross-Disciplinary Conference on Web Accessibility W4A 2011. p. 6. Available online
While many people enjoy surfing the Web without any difficulty, the blind people could only read webpage with the help of screen reader which reads aloud the whole webpage. This approach is quite time consuming for them to get to their interested content even though some screen readers allow tabbing through links or headings. It is proposed to adapt the webpage into different logical sections, each would be given a descriptive heading and a number so that the user can enter the number in order to get into the details of that section. The whole idea is like converting the webpage into an IVRS (Interactive Voice Response Systems) so that the blind people can access the webpage using mobile phone by hearing the index page and getting into details by pressing the corresponding number on the key pad.
Villamizar, José Francisco Saray, Encelle, Benoît, Prie, Yannick and Champin, Pierre-Antoine (2011): An adaptive videos enrichment system based on decision trees for people with sensory disabilities. In: Proceedings of the 2011 International Cross-Disciplinary Conference on Web Accessibility W4A 2011. p. 7. Available online
The ACAV project aims to improve videos accessibility on the Web for people with sensory disabilities. For this purpose, additional descriptions of key visual/audio information of the video, that cannot be perceived, are presented using accessible output modalities. However, personalization mechanisms are necessary to adapt these descriptions and their presentations according to user interests and cognitive/physical capabilities. In this article, we introduce the concepts needed for personalization and an adaptive personalization mechanism of descriptions and associated presentations is proposed and evaluated.
Baeza-Yates, Ricardo and Rello, Luz (2011): Estimating dyslexia in the web. In: Proceedings of the 2011 International Cross-Disciplinary Conference on Web Accessibility W4A 2011. p. 8. Available online
In this study we present an estimation of texts containing English dyslexic errors in the Web. A classification of lexical errors is proposed and unique dyslexic errors are distinguished from other kind of errors due to spelling and grammatical errors, typos, OCR errors and errors produced when English is used as a foreign language. A representative sample of each kind of error is used to calculate a lower bound for the prevalence of dyslexia in the English Web. Although dyslexia has been studied in the context of Web accessibility, to the best of our knowledge, an estimation of Web texts containing dyslexic errors was unknown. Our results are useful to tackle future work in Web accessibility among dyslexic users focusing not only in the interface but also in the text content.
Martín, Adriana, Cechich, Alejandra and Rossi, Gustavo (2011): Accessibility at early stages: insights from the designer perspective. In: Proceedings of the 2011 International Cross-Disciplinary Conference on Web Accessibility W4A 2011. p. 9. Available online
Usually, a huge number of tools and proposals help developers assess Accessibility of Web applications; however, looking from the designer perspective, there is no such a similar situation. It seems that creating accessible Web sites is more expensive and complicated than creating Web sites and then assessing/modifying them. Although this feeling may be largely true, the benefits of modeling Accessibility at early design stages outweigh the needs of a developer to implement that Accessibility. A designer can learn the basics of Web Accessibility and then he/she should be able to incorporate this knowledge into his/her software architecture. The point is to have an idea of how to do so from the beginning. In this paper, we briefly introduce our proposal to model Web Accessibility by moving from abstract to concrete architectural views using aspect-orientation. Our approach takes advantages of modeling Accessibility as an aspect-oriented concern, which is independently treated but related to architectural pieces. We illustrate the approach with a case study and elaborate some insights from the designer perspective.
The old computing was about what computers could do; the new computing is about what users can do. Successful technologies are those that are in harmony with users' needs. They must support relationships and activities that enrich the users' experiences.