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 2012 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 2012 International Cross-Disciplinary Conference on Web Accessibility W4A":
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Ackermann, Philip, Velasco, Carlos A. and Power, Christopher (2012): Developing a semantic user and device modeling framework that supports UI adaptability of web 2.0 applications for people with special needs. In: Proceedings of the 2012 International Cross-Disciplinary Conference on Web Accessibility W4A 2012. p. 12. Available online
The introduction of user and device models to customize applications has been the subject of research for decades. This paper presents a modeling framework that supports dynamic adaptation of the UI of web 2.0 applications. This work builds upon previous efforts of the authors  leveraged with the use of the semantic framework for Composite Capability/Preference Profiles (CC/PP), which allows the matching of device capabilities and user preferences arising because of functional restrictions. The combination of these models with those of the corresponding web applications, enables an adaptive transformation process that facilitates access to users with special needs derived of their functional restrictions or because of context-related handicapping situations. We argue that this approach will enable a user-centric access to the web, including mobile and ubiquitous delivery of services and applications.
Fernandes, Nádia, Costa, Daniel, Neves, Sergio, Duarte, Carlos and Carrico, Luis (2012): Evaluating the accessibility of rich internet applications. In: Proceedings of the 2012 International Cross-Disciplinary Conference on Web Accessibility W4A 2012. p. 13. Available online
The Web has been growing in size and complexity and is used for the most diverse activities in our every day life, becoming almost indispensable. Besides, Web applications are becoming more popular, and consequently used by a wide range of people. Thus, it is important to evaluate the accessibility of the new Rich Internet Applications (RIA) to guarantee that everyone can access the information. Currently, there are some tools to evaluate the accessibility of classical Web pages, which use WCAG guidelines. However, Web applications impose different challenges, so it is mandatory to find a way to automatically obtain the dynamically introduced HTML code, in order to evaluate what users really experience. This paper details a new process of accessibility evaluation of Web applications, which evaluates the content by triggering possible events that partially change the Web page. It also presents an experimental study with several Web applications, demonstrating the potential of this framework in evaluating Web applications.
Atkinson, Matthew Tylee, Bell, Matthew J. and Machin, Colin H. C. (2012): Towards ubiquitous accessibility: capability-based profiles and adaptations, delivered via the semantic web. In: Proceedings of the 2012 International Cross-Disciplinary Conference on Web Accessibility W4A 2012. p. 14. Available online
The continuing proliferation of mobile devices, content and applications presents barriers to the mainstreaming of Assistive Technologies (ATs), despite their potential utility for users in demanding situations or with minor-to-moderate impairments. We have previously proposed that user profiling based on human rather than machine-oriented capabilities, coupled with a shift from conspicuous ATs to considering a broader range of adaptations presents opportunities for platform and AT vendors to support many more users. However there has not been a standard, consistent and, most importantly, straightforward way to deliver these benefits. We propose that this delivery gap can be bridged by using the semantic web and related technologies, so the potential benefits of the capability-based approach may be realised.
Watanabe, Willian Massami, Fortes, Renata P. M. and Dias, Ana Luiza (2012): Using acceptance tests to validate accessibility requirements in RIA. In: Proceedings of the 2012 International Cross-Disciplinary Conference on Web Accessibility W4A 2012. p. 15. Available online
Mirri, Silvia, Salomoni, Paola, Muratori, Ludovico A. and Battistelli, Matteo (2012): Getting one voice: tuning up experts' assessment in measuring accessibility. In: Proceedings of the 2012 International Cross-Disciplinary Conference on Web Accessibility W4A 2012. p. 16. Available online
Web accessibility evaluations are typically done by means of automatic tools and by humans' assessments. Metrics about accessibility are devoted to quantify accessibility level or accessibility barriers, providing numerical synthesis from such evaluations. It is worth noting that, while automatic tools usually return binary values (meant as the presence or the absence of an error), human assessment in manual evaluations are subjective and can get values from a continuous range. In this paper we present a model which takes into account multiple manual evaluations and provides final single values. In particular, an extension of our previous metric BIF, called cBIF, has been designed and implemented to evaluate consistence and effectiveness of such a model. Suitable tools and the collaboration of a group of evaluators is supporting us to provide first results on our metric and is drawing interesting clues for future researches.
Gilbertson, Teresa D. and Machin, Colin H. C. (2012): Guidelines, icons and marketable skills: an accessibility evaluation of 100 web development company homepages. In: Proceedings of the 2012 International Cross-Disciplinary Conference on Web Accessibility W4A 2012. p. 17. Available online
Accessible websites are increasingly desired by clients with many web developers listing accessibility as a skill offered by their companies. An accessibility and validation study of 100 UK web development company homepages found that, while the skill set is gaining popularity in terms of visibility, the mention of accessibility on a developer website has no impact in terms of the actual accessibility of the homepage. The presence of validation and conformance icons for XHTML, CSS, WCAG 1.0 and 2.0 also does not necessarily reflect the current state of the site, which may have changed multiple times since the validation occurred. Accessibility errors are still common, with missing alt text and labels and poor keyboard accessibility in terms of keyboard traps as well as omission of "lang" attributes and reused id attribute values listed among the most frequent barriers encountered.
Fernandes, Nádia and Carrico, Luis (2012): A macroscopic web accessibility evaluation at different processing phases. In: Proceedings of the 2012 International Cross-Disciplinary Conference on Web Accessibility W4A 2012. p. 18. Available online
This paper details a comparative experimental study to understand the difference of the Web's accessibility properties regarding two different evaluation approaches: using WCAG 2.0 techniques and targeting the pages as they reach the browser; using WCAG 2.0, but evaluating the pages after the browser processing, thus as they will be delivered to the end-user. For that, we evaluated over 20000 Web pages using already established accessibility metrics. We then compared the results obtained from the WCAG 2.0 evaluation of the two processing phases. We observed some changes in the macroscopic properties of the evaluation. Regarding the comparison between the two phases, we observed a narrower distribution of quality, i.e., the worst pages are in fact not that bad, and the best ones not that good.
Yesilada, Yeliz, Brajnik, Giorgio, Vigo, Markel and Harper, Simon (2012): Understanding web accessibility and its drivers. In: Proceedings of the 2012 International Cross-Disciplinary Conference on Web Accessibility W4A 2012. p. 19. Available online
Access is what the web is 'about', it is the motivation behind its creation, and it is the rationale behind HTML. The desire to provide all users at CERN with the ability to access all documents was Tim Berners-Lee's primary goal, and this goal must also be carried through to equal access for all users. But this equality of access -- accessibility -- is difficult to quantify, define, or agree upon. In a constantly evolving field, understanding each other can be tricky; indeed, there are many different definitions in the literature, all with a different perspective. This makes it difficult for our community to interact, reach agreement, or share understanding. What is more, it makes it very difficult for those outside the web accessibility community to understand, plan, budget, enact policy, or conform to accessibility requirements and legislation when the community itself has so many, in some cases, conflicting definitions. We asked over 300 people, with an interest in accessibility, to discuss their views and definitions in an attempt to harmonise our understanding and support the expectations of users outside the community. We find that misunderstanding accessibility definitions, language, and terms might cause tension between different groups. That social, and not economic, aspects drive our perspectives of accessibility, and that definitions used by standards and regulatory bodies are most accepted -- not those of individual experts. Forcing accessibility adoption does not encourage the acceptance of an accessibility ethos, but providing empirical evidence that accessibility benefits all, does. Finally, realistic and concise language was preferred when attempting to communicate, or define accessibility.
Cooper, Martyn, Sloan, David, Kelly, Brian and Lewthwaite, Sarah (2012): A challenge to web accessibility metrics and guidelines: putting people and processes first. In: Proceedings of the 2012 International Cross-Disciplinary Conference on Web Accessibility W4A 2012. p. 20. Available online
This paper argues that web accessibility is not an intrinsic characteristic of a digital resource but is determined by complex political, social and other contextual factors, as well as technical aspects which are the focus of WAI standardisation activities. It can therefore be inappropriate to develop legislation or focus on metrics only associated with properties of the resource. The authors describe the value of standards such as BS 8878 which focus on best practices for the process of developing web products and include a user focus. The paper concludes with a case study that illustrates how learning analytics could provide data to support the improvement of the inclusivity of learning resources, providing a broader perspective beyond the digital resource.
Keith, Suzette, Floratos, Nikolaos and Whitney, Gill (2012): Certification or conformance: making a successful commitment to WCAG 2.0. In: Proceedings of the 2012 International Cross-Disciplinary Conference on Web Accessibility W4A 2012. p. 21. Available online
The need for accessible websites is well recognized and the accessibility guidelines (WCAG 2.0) provide an important benchmark standard for measuring progress of eGoverment and commercial websites. This study was commissioned by ANEC and aimed to examine the effects of voluntary and third party certification schemes on actual conformance with web accessibility standards. A sample of 100 websites claiming voluntary or certified conformance to accessibility standards were selected from 5 European countries. In a combination of automatic tests and manual inspection it was found that simple measures of numbers of passes to WCAG 2.0 level A were highly disappointing. Closer inspection of the results revealed that a limited number of criteria at level A accounted for more than half the failures. These individual failures at level A tend to mask the commitment made by development teams to meet the needs of disabled users. Clearer processes are needed to identify and resolve these persistent barriers in order to support web development and achieve better and more consistent conformance to accessibility guidelines.
Dinesh, T. B., Uskudarli, S., Sastry, Subramanya, Aggarwal, Deepti and Choppella, Venkatesh (2012): Alipi: a framework for re-narrating web pages. In: Proceedings of the 2012 International Cross-Disciplinary Conference on Web Accessibility W4A 2012. p. 22. Available online
We propose Alipi, a distributed and participatory approach for re-narrating web pages for the purpose of rendering the content more accessible. This model supports alternative descriptions for a web page or parts of it via rewriting or re-narration for a given target audience by volunteers. The goal is to render the Web accessible to people across varied abilities, age, economic situation, language and geographic locations. We present the motivation, architecture and prototype implementation of Alipi.
Alajarmeh, Nancy (2012): Doing math: mathematics accessibility issues. In: Proceedings of the 2012 International Cross-Disciplinary Conference on Web Accessibility W4A 2012. p. 23. Available online
Limited mathematics accessibility support has been always a barrier for students with impaired vision to learn that fundamental subject. In response to that persistent need, enhancing mathematics accessibility has been deeply thought of with more attention given towards facilitating "Doing the math" and not only working on the rendering level. In specific, for the challenges they face in algebra, the efforts are being made to enable students to do and learn algebraic skills; i.e., arithmetic manipulation on the level of basic building blocks of entire expressions, working on complex expressions simplifications and evaluation, and solving algebraic equations. As a non-visual framework, manipulation is made through an accessible hierarchy of recorded, navigatable, and recoverable steps. With different layers each of which supports distinct needs of learners; the framework is to facilitate doing the math according to the student level of subject mastery and disability severity in minimal possible efforts; i.e., avoiding rewriting the same sub-expressions when they are not manipulated at certain point in the hierarchy from one step to the next.
Jaballah, Kabil (2012): Accessible 3D signing avatars: the Tunisian experience. In: Proceedings of the 2012 International Cross-Disciplinary Conference on Web Accessibility W4A 2012. p. 24. Available online
Signing avatars have the potential to produce sign language in its visual/Dynamic form. These virtual characters are actually getting increasing interest form the deaf community and being actively uploaded to the World Wide Web (WWW). In Tunisia, we developed a system called Websign which is able to translate any text information into any signed language through an avatar. This paper outlines the importance of the avatars technology in making the world accessible to deaf people. We put a special focus on how to generate exchangeable signing avatars and the way to make them accessible, indexable and easily located on the Internet.
Mirri, Silvia, Casadei, Matteo, Muratori, Ludovico A., Battistelli, Matteo and Salomoni, Paola (2012): AMAri: a reporting interface for accessibility evaluations. In: Proceedings of the 2012 International Cross-Disciplinary Conference on Web Accessibility W4A 2012. p. 26. Available online
Accessibility evaluation and monitoring actions are distributed activities based on the analysis and verification of a huge amount of data. In this paper we present an application prototype, which produces accessible and personalized outputs (by means of graphics and tables) in a feasible way, on the basis of Web pages accessibility validations, thereby making data more understandable and accessible to distributed Web authoring/editorial staffs.
In this paper we present Capti -- a universally and ubiquitously accessible web browsing application enabling intuitive and usable web access for people with and w/o vision impairments. Capti provides a usable screen-reader interface for web browsing and an accessible listen-to-it-later Playlist (charmtechlabs.com).
Buzzi, M. Claudia, Buzzi, Marina, Gazzé, Davide, Senette, Caterina and Tesconi, Maurizio (2012): ABCD SW: autistic behavior & computer-based didactic software. In: Proceedings of the 2012 International Cross-Disciplinary Conference on Web Accessibility W4A 2012. p. 28. Available online
In this demo we show an open source software (SW) program designed to facilitate the execution of Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) intervention with low-functioning autistic children. The SW is based on Augmentative and Alternative Communication (AAC) and Discrete Trial Training (DTT). The SW automatically records data extractable from the session (times, success/error, etc.), while the tutor inserts subjective data such as type and level of prompt provided to a child, along with comments. The SW adapts the trial to the child's abilities (receptive/verbal) to make it accessible (comprehensible and operable). To offer the child a simple and accessible interaction environment, the tutor and child user interfaces are kept separate and offered on mobile devices. Using a laptop, the tutor sets the exercise that appears on the child's tablet. Synchronization between devices offers the tutor a real-time summary of actions performed by child, freeing up his/her cognitive resources needed to memorize this information and possibly favoring the decision-making process for the ABA intervention.
Dinesh, T. B. and Choppella, Venkatesh (2012): Alipi: tools for a re-narration web. In: Proceedings of the 2012 International Cross-Disciplinary Conference on Web Accessibility W4A 2012. p. 29. Available online
A set of tools that demonstrate the concept of a re-narration web, that aims to add alternative, target specific narrations of web documents as an extension of the web protocol with the intent of assisting a process of content dissemination and access that is inclusive of non-literate people.
Newell, Alan F. (2012): Usability, demography, and directions for W4A. In: Proceedings of the 2012 International Cross-Disciplinary Conference on Web Accessibility W4A 2012. p. 30. Available online
W4A has made tremendous strides in increasing the accessibility of web sites, and raising the profile of this activity, by researching into and producing web accessibility technologies and guidelines for this process. To a great extent, the literature has focused on how to ensure that data on web sites, and other aspects of the digital landscape, are accessible people with disabilities -- but are there other goals that W4A should be pursuing? The introduction to this conference reads: "The World Wide Web has changed the way we search, access, consume and produce information". Roberts  however, reports that older people's use of the Internet remains lower than that of younger adults (64% of those 65 and older have never used the Internet, and, although the usage by older people is growing, it is at a slow rate). The situation in the USA is not dissimilar. In the UK, and possibly the rest of the world, this lack of usage of the Internet is also the case for those younger people who have few or no educational qualifications. There is also growing evidence that members of these groups are more likely to become "digitally disengaged" as their characteristics and capabilities change with time. Thus, unless the "us" only refers to conference delegates, the above quote should have read "The World Wide Web has changed the way some of us search, access, consume and produce information". This is not an isolated error -- the literature is full of "everyone" as a short hand for "the people I know" or "over 50% of the population -- probably". What about the others? The theme of the 2009 W4A in Madrid was Web Accessibility for Older Users. Are We There Yet? Clearly we are not there yet! The web is still not "accessible" to all older and uneducated or technophobic people nor to many people from a different technological generation or different cultures. It was argued in Madrid that these issues should be a greater priority for W4A researchers. Appropriate ways of addressing them, however, were likely to be different from the task of increasing "accessibility" for (young) people with (mainly) sensory and motor disabilities . This is a different war and W4A needs to develop different weapons. We need to investigate why these users are or choose, to be digitally excluded? What do they need and want in terms of digital information? That is: how can technology be made which is "acceptable" as well as "accessible"? This leads to questions, including: What does the evidence of "accessible" but "unusable" sites tell us about current guidelines and methods? Why do many designers seem to ignore current guidelines? How does this reflect on the acceptability and usability of these guidelines? Should there be a greater focus on "usability" of information and marginalized users' experience of the technology? How can we facilitate users' "delight"? Should we focus more on the design of web sites and other sources of digital data, and less on options to cope with inaccessible digital data? Should we be focusing on methods for improving design or coping with bad design? What are the most effective ways of communicating our research to the mainstream web community? How do we influence content developers or those developing tools for content developers? How can and should we contribute to the education of software engineers and web developers? How do we make our recommendations seem a challenge rather than a chore? In 2011, I discussed methodologies for design of artifacts for older and disabled people. These concepts could play a part in assisting this community to address the challenges suggested above. I have also used inter-active live theatre and narrative film techniques to raise awareness of the issues older people can have with new technologies [2&3]. This can be an exciting and effective way to communicate important messages about the design of accessible and usable web resources to the wider world of the web. Everyone is growing older -- including delegates at W4A -- and, given the rate of change of both people and technology with time, these challenges are unlikely to go away.
Hendler, James (2012): Increasing access to the web of "broad data. In: Proceedings of the 2012 International Cross-Disciplinary Conference on Web Accessibility W4A 2012. p. 31. Available online
Due to a problem with my wrists, hopefully temporary, I am writing this short article using voice recognition software. As this is the first time I've used this software, I'm actually relatively pleased with how well it works. I am able to write e-mails, send twitter and Facebook updates, and do many routine tasks using my voice. Modulo a few typos, I can even write this document (although putting this into ACM format required help). However, a significant portion of my life nowadays involves interacting with data, and when it comes to data interaction, "web for all" may as well just be a slogan. Even without accessibility problems, whether your goal is to enter, discover, or integrate data, or to try to understand what some particular data is telling you, it isn't easy. Add in disability, and the problem is made much worse. In this keynote, I will discuss some of the issues that arise as people try to use the "broad data" that can be found on the World Wide Web. The modern combination of "lightweight" semantics, based to a large degree on the rapidly maturing products of early semantic Web research, coupled with the "big data" tools that have moved away from traditional relational databases, provides an area of exploration that is pushing research in new and interesting directions. Tim Berners-Lee's call for "Raw Data Now" is being heeded in many quarters, and other forces, including those of transparency and innovation, are creating vast repositories of data that are available without restriction. As an example, governments around the world have been posting data sets on the web at a really amazing rate. In the past year and a half, my research group has identified and indexed the metadata for well over 700,000 open government datasets from around the world. This includes, at the time of this writing, datasets from more than thirty countries and international organizations in 16 different languages (we currently anticipate having more than 1 million data sets by the end of this calendar year). Our research has explored how to create, index and search metadata from this immense Federated catalog space. We have also been developing tools for helping users to create linked data from these data sets and to use that link data in the development of visualizations and other presentations that make the data more accessible. We are also working with the US government on bringing these techniques to the US Data.gov project. In this talk, which I admit includes parts that are far more speculative than practical at this point in time, I will explore how the link spaces among the data provide the underpinnings of potential new applications that will help bring data analytics into our personal lives. By making data more personalized, we may be able to achieve new possibilities in data integration that could provide capabilities by which all of us would be able to more fully interact with the important data that affects us in our everyday lives (such as health and well-being), and not just in our professional careers. I contend that similar techniques could be used to help increase the accessibility of data on the web. Linked-data approaches have been helping to some degree in this arena, but still leave a lot to be desired. In short, I will explore some exciting things happening on the web of data, but bemoan the challenges that still remain in providing scalable access to the Web of Data.
López, Juan Miguel, Pascual, Afra, Menduińa, Cristina and Granollers, Toni (2012): Methodology for identifying and solving accessibility related issues in web content management system environments. In: Proceedings of the 2012 International Cross-Disciplinary Conference on Web Accessibility W4A 2012. p. 32. Available online
This work presents a methodology that allows identifying and solving accessibility related issues in web pages using Web Content Management System (CMS) environments. In this sense, the methodology establishes a series of steps to be performed in order to ensure that the content managed by CMSs is accessible. A study has been performed on two different CMSs to check the validity of the steps defined in the methodology. The paper includes the methodology used, the evaluation performed on both CMS (OpenCMS and Typo3) and the key findings of the analysis. The results of the study have been positive as the objective of providing CMS environments that allow developing accessible web pages has been fulfilled.
Bailey, Christopher and Pearson, Elaine (2012): Evaluation of the effectiveness of a tool to support novice auditors. In: Proceedings of the 2012 International Cross-Disciplinary Conference on Web Accessibility W4A 2012. p. 33. Available online
The Accessibility Evaluation Assistant (AEA) is a web accessibility knowledge management tool designed specifically to assist novice auditors in conducting an accessibility evaluation. The software incorporates a bespoke structured walkthrough approach designed to guide the auditor through a series of checks based on established accessibility principles with the goal of identifying accessibility barriers. A previous trial examined the effectiveness of the AEA and explored the pedagogical potential of the tool when incorporated into the undergraduate computing curriculum. The results of the evaluations carried out by the novices yielded promising levels of validity and reliability. This paper presents the results of a second experiment designed to test the overall efficacy of the AEA when compared to a WCAG 2.0 conformance review. The results of evaluations produced using both AEA and Conformance Review methods were examined and comparisons made of quality factors such as effectiveness, reliability, efficiency and usefulness. Quantitative and qualitative data from the experiment support continued use of the AEA in an educational context, highlighting the benefits compared to WCAG 2.0 and gives further insight into the complex nature of developing accessibility evaluation skills in novices.
Villain, Jean-Pierre and Nourry, Olivier (2012): MIPAW: modele of a progressive implementation of web accessibility. In: Proceedings of the 2012 International Cross-Disciplinary Conference on Web Accessibility W4A 2012. p. 34. Available online
This paper presents the elaboration of a progressive implementation model for WCAG, centered on the notions of access to information and essential needs of users. MIPAW's main goal is to serve as a framework for the elaboration of progressive enhancement methodologies, of measurement systems of the real level of accessibility, and the setting up of efficient quality assurance management systems. Based on state of the art, real-world experience, and expertise in accessibility, as well as quality assurance areas, the project has the ambition of providing methodological tools better suited to the constraints of web industrialization, while preserving the deployment of real user-centric accessibility. MIPAW is a project lead as part of the activities of the AccessiWeb GTA (Workgroup on Accessibility), and has received active support from 16 of the most prominent French companies in the area of expertise in digital accessibility.
Santana, Vagner Figuerędo de, Oliveira, Rosimeire de, Almeida, Leonelo Dell Anhol and Baranauskas, Maria Cecília Calani (2012): Web accessibility and people with dyslexia: a survey on techniques and guidelines. In: Proceedings of the 2012 International Cross-Disciplinary Conference on Web Accessibility W4A 2012. p. 35. Available online
Although the dyslexia has significant occurrence in the global population,
Rello, Luz, Kanvinde, Gaurang and Baeza-Yates, Ricardo (2012): Layout guidelines for web text and a web service to improve accessibility for dyslexics. In: Proceedings of the 2012 International Cross-Disciplinary Conference on Web Accessibility W4A 2012. p. 36. Available online
In this paper, we offer set of guidelines and a web service that presents Web texts in a more accessible way to people with dyslexia. The layout guidelines for developing this service are based on a user study with a group of twenty two dyslexic users. The data collected from our study combines qualitative data from interviews and questionnaires and quantitative data from tests carried out using eye tracking. We analyze and compare both kinds of data and present a set of layout guidelines for making the text Web more readable for dyslexic users. To the best of our knowledge, our methodology for defining dyslexic-friendly guidelines and our web service are novel.
Boulares, Mehrez and Jemni, Mohamed (2012): Mobile sign language translation system for deaf community. In: Proceedings of the 2012 International Cross-Disciplinary Conference on Web Accessibility W4A 2012. p. 37. Available online
Nowadays, web technologies are a very efficient way to ensure communication between a large and heterogeneous audience. Furthermore, web information is mainly based on textual and multimedia content and consequently, some people with special needs, such as deaf and hard of hearing people, have difficulties to access to information or to communicate with hearing people. This problem is due to the lack of services that facilitate sign language learning for hearing people or text translation into sign language for persons with hearing impairment. In this context, we present in this paper a new approach based on web services, X3D and android operating system to build a mobile translation system from text into sign language using virtual signing agent. The main feature of this work is that it can be used to learn sign language and to provide sign language translation of written text for people with hearing impairment.
Ghoul, Oussama El, Yahia, Nour Ben and Jemni, Mohamed (2012): Web-content's syndication in sign language. In: Proceedings of the 2012 International Cross-Disciplinary Conference on Web Accessibility W4A 2012. p. 38. Available online
Web content syndication is the process by which website material is made available to multiple other sites through a "push" technology. Most commonly, it consists of making web feeds available from a site in order to supply other people with latest news, or summaries or update of new web site content. Syndication feeds are generated using one of the two most common formats RSS and Atom. RSS and Atom represent a way to gather updated web content and broadcast or receive it regularly. Instead of daily consulting news sites, podcasts, blogs and other sources of information, internet's users can subscribe to feeds with an RSS Reader which check automatically updates and display it on the user's screen. Thanks to the efficiency and ease of access to information, demonstrated by this technology, RSS feeds become more and more deployed on websites and implemented on web browsers and email clients. Moreover, RSS become one of the main tools of broadcasting information. However, until now deaf are still deprived of this technology. The reason is that all web contents are syndicated in textual format, which is not convenient to the community of deaf that represents a majority of illiterate people, particularly those in developing countries. In this context, our contribution resides on the specification of an approach of web-content's syndication in sign language. We recommend adapting RSS feeds in order to make it accessible to deaf people and suggest adding to the list of languages accepted by the RSS specification new list of languages including sign languages. We propose also describing sign language sentences using specific textual description, which can be played by a virtual character.
Ahmed, Faisal, Borodin, Yevgen, Puzis, Yury and Ramakrishnan, I. V. (2012): Why read if you can skim: towards enabling faster screen reading. In: Proceedings of the 2012 International Cross-Disciplinary Conference on Web Accessibility W4A 2012. p. 39. Available online
Skimming broadly refers to different speed-reading methods that aim to enhance the rate of reading without unduly compromising on comprehension and retention of information. Skimming of content could be particularly useful for people with vision impairments, who frequently experience information overload when listening to reams of digital content online. Support for usable and useful skimming in modern screen readers remains very poor. This paper explores the user requirements for a usable non-visual skimming interface, informed by a large-scale human-subject experiment with blind individuals. Specifically, the study has: (1) helped identify the type of skimming that can be useful in screen reading main content in web pages; (2) led to the development of a usable interface for accessible online skimming; (3) demonstrated the utility of the accessible skimming interface in two realistic use scenarios; (4) identified automatic summarization techniques that could "closely" approximate skimming methods used by sighted people.
Federico, Maria and Furini, Marco (2012): Enhancing learning accessibility through fully automatic captioning. In: Proceedings of the 2012 International Cross-Disciplinary Conference on Web Accessibility W4A 2012. p. 40. Available online
The simple act of listening or of taking notes while attending a lesson may represent an insuperable burden for millions of people with some form of disabilities (e.g., hearing impaired, dyslexic and ESL students). In this paper, we propose an architecture that aims at automatically creating captions for video lessons by exploiting advances in speech recognition technologies. Our approach couples the usage of off-the-shelf ASR (Automatic Speech Recognition) software with a novel caption alignment mechanism that smartly introduces unique audio markups into the audio stream before giving it to the ASR and transforms the plain transcript produced by the ASR into a timecoded transcript.
Puzis, Yury, Borodin, Yevgen, Ahmed, Faisal and Ramakrishnan, I. V. (2012): An intuitive accessible web automation user interface. In: Proceedings of the 2012 International Cross-Disciplinary Conference on Web Accessibility W4A 2012. p. 41. Available online
In recent years, the Web has become an ever more sophisticated and irreplaceable tool in our daily lives. While the visual Web has advanced at a rapid pace, assistive technology has not been able to keep up, increasingly putting visually impaired users at a disadvantage. Web automation has the potential to bridge the accessibility divide between the ways blind and sighted people access the Web; specifically, it can enable blind people to accomplish web browsing tasks that were previously slow, hard, or even impossible to achieve. In this paper, we propose and evaluate an intuitive and accessible web automation interface. We validate the design in a Wizard-of-Oz user study with visually-impaired subjects and show that the proposed approach has the potential to significantly increase accessibility and usability of web pages, reduce interaction time, and increase user satisfaction. Our findings demonstrate the feasibility of and emphasize the pressing need for truly accessible web automation technologies.
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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.