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Thomas G. Kieninger


Publications by Thomas G. Kieninger (bibliography)

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Kieninger, Thomas G. (1996): The "Growing Up" of HyperBraille -- An Office Workspace for Blind People. In: Kurlander, David, Brown, Marc and Rao, Ramana (eds.) Proceedings of the 9th annual ACM symposium on User interface software and technology November 06 - 08, 1996, Seattle, Washington, United States. pp. 67-73. http://www.acm.org/pubs/articles/proceedings/uist/237091/p67-kieninger/p67-kieninger.pdf

Due to of their intuitive usage especially for novice users, graphical user interfaces (GUI) are nowadays a widespread user frontend for almost any kind of application. It is well-known that the advantages to sighted users hide strong drawbacks for the community of blind people. Their special needs are not very well catered for the common software design. The control over GUI applications with their overlapping windows and buttons are no analog to the way blind people "see" their environment as it is for sighted people. Thus, the competitiveness of these people is drastically reduced. The basic goal of HyperBraille is to enable blind or visually impaired people to participate as fully competitive members in today's information technology oriented office worlds. We did not aim to create another tool to access graphical user interfaces but rather decided to realize a textscreen-oriented application especially for blind people which integrates tools to retrieve, create and exchange printed as well as electronic documents. Thereby we used the hypertext and formatting features of the Hypertext Markup Language HTML. On the other hand we adapted the GUI concept of the pull-down menus to be customized on a Braille display. As for the sighted user, pull-down menus allow the novice user to immediately operate any application like word-processors or WWW-browsers without knowing the various key bindings. The development of HyperBraille started three years ago with the construction of a World Wide Web client that allowed easy access to all the documents of the Web [11]. This article will describe the new features of HyperBraille that are mostly driven by user feedback and by the needs for individual configurations of potential users.

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