Browsing shortcuts as a means to improve information seeking of blind people in the WWW

Abstract

This paper presents a “Semantic Web application framework” which allows different applications to be designed and developed for improving the accessibility of the World Wide Web (WWW). The framework promotes the idea of creating a community of people federating into groups (ontology creators, annotators, user-agent developers, end-users) each playing a specific role, without the coordination of any central authority. The use of a specialised voice web browser for blind people, called SeEBrowser, is presented and discussed as an example of an accessibility tool developed based on the framework. SeEBrowser utilises annotations of web pages and provides browsing shortcuts. Browsing shortcuts are mechanisms, which facilitate blind people in moving efficiently through various elements of a web page (e.g. functional elements such as forms, navigational aids etc.) during the information-seeking process, hence operating effectively as a vital counterbalance to low accessibility. Finally, an experimental user study is presented and discussed which evaluates SeEBrowser with and without the use of browsing shortcuts.

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Acknowledgments

The research project is funded by the E.U. and the Greek Ministry of Education under the research program “Archimedes” [19]. We would also like to thank Dimitris Tektonidis for his contribution to the project regarding the development of ONAR, and Marios Chatzidimitriou for the development of the annotation storage server software.

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Correspondence to Christos Kouroupetroglou.

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Kouroupetroglou, C., Salampasis, M. & Manitsaris, A. Browsing shortcuts as a means to improve information seeking of blind people in the WWW. Univ Access Inf Soc 6, 273–283 (2007). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10209-007-0090-z

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Keywords

  • Semantic web
  • Resource Description Framework (RDF)
  • Voice browser
  • Browsing shortcuts
  • Accessibility