Universal Web Access: An Intelligent Web Interface

By:
Dr. Elizabeth DePoy,
Dr. Stephen Gilson
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Over the past ten years, there has been significant progress and development aimed at increasing access to electronic information for atypical users including people with disabilities, low literacy users, and more recently elders with limited computer proficiency. However, what is evident from the HCI and related literature is many access solutions structured according to principles of retrofitting, accommodation or adaptation, although well intended fall short, in that they are often tailored to individual conditions (Schneiderman, 2002) or provide the structure in which websites need only to meet minimum access compliance standards based on nomothetic conceptualizations of access need. Only recently has the application of universal ideology to computer access been identified and thus methods to expand access that are based on what Stephanidis has termed User Interfaces for All (2001) are still in their infancy. Building on current initiatives, we will present a development and research project in which we are creating, testing and deploying an intelligent web interface, which by itself provides no content information. Rather, it provides a full range of structural, language, sensory, and reading level features that can be set for individual users so that they can access search engines and textual information on other sites. In the session, we discuss the current theoretical and technological context, development and testing activities, demonstrate the interface at its current stage of development, and identify future steps for development, deployment, and expansion of functionality.


Keywords: Universal access, Human-computer Interaction
Stream: Human Technologies and Useability
Presentation Type: Paper Presentation in English
Paper: Universal Web Access


Dr. Elizabeth DePoy

Professor, Center for Community Inclusion and Disability Studies, University of Maine
USA

Elizabeth DePoy is Professor and Coordinator of Interdisciplinary Education in Disability Studies at the University of Maine. Her teaching and research interests are in methods of inquiry, universal access and social justice. Most recently, Dr DePoy has engaged in theory generation and testing with emphasis on the application of legitimacy to human category determination and response and to the advancement of universal ideology. She has applied this interest to the information apartheid, and the promotion of information access as a civil right.


Dr. Stephen Gilson

Professor, Center for Community Inclusion and Disability Studies, University of Maine
USA

After Dr Gilson completed his Ph.D. in medical sciences, he was awarded a post-doctoral fellowship at the National Institute of Drug Abuse in Baltimore Maryland, where he studied the neurophysiology of substance use and abuse. He now teaches in disability studies and social work at the University of Maine. His research interests and publications have focused disability identity, experiences of domestic violence and women with disabilities, disability theory, disability as diversity, universal access, social justice, and health and disability policy and advocacy. Dr Gilson has authored and/or co-authored 5 books, has contributed many chapters to edited collections, and has over 40 articles published in peer reviewed journals. He is currently pursuing a collaborative research agenda to develop and test software that will provide universal access to web and electronic information. Dr Gilson presents his work locally, regionally, nationally and internationally and has collaborative relationships with international scholars. In the service arena, Dr Gilson is extremely active on university, local, national and international committees, organizations, and concerns. His commitment to universal ideology as a means to promote social justice and equal opportunity guides his service work.


Ref: T05P0014