IBM looks to improve Web usage for visually impaired

IBM on Thursday previewed technology intended to assess and grade Web sites on their accessibility to people who are visually impaired and blind.

A Java-based developer tool called aDesigner is intended to ensure the usefulness of Web pages for people who are visually impaired, IBM said. Developed at IBM's Tokyo Research Lab, the tool detects accessibility and usability problems on Web pages and provides guidance on how to correct these issues. The issue of easily viewable Web sites is one that will grow, with seven in 10 Americans expected to work past the once-typical retirement age of 65, IBM stressed.

IBM's aDesigner "presents a console to the developer and it basically provides it as a simulator," said Jim Chao, emerging technology strategist at IBM. "It simulates a low-vision mode and it also simulates a blind mode so it will take a look at your HTML and in this console list all the problems with your Web page."

For those who are visually impaired, elements are checked such as font sizes, contrast between foreground and background, and inappropriate color combinations. For people who are blind, aDesigner checks the HTML tags that link to the text-to-speech systems used by those who are blind. The tool checks excessive reaching time, which is the amount of time needed to reach each element of a page, as well as redundant text, insufficient intra-page linking, and accessibility guidelines.

As an alphaWorks project, aDesigner is in the early adopter stage, Chao said. It may be a couple of years before the technology is introduced in an IBM product, he said.

The tool can be downloaded at http://www.alphaworks.ibm.com.

Join the PC World newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.
Rocket to Success - Your 10 Tips for Smarter ERP System Selection
Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Paul Krill

InfoWorld
Show Comments

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Matthew Stivala

HP OfficeJet 250 Mobile Printer

The HP OfficeJet 250 Mobile Printer is a great device that fits perfectly into my fast paced and mobile lifestyle. My first impression of the printer itself was how incredibly compact and sleek the device was.

Armand Abogado

HP OfficeJet 250 Mobile Printer

Wireless printing from my iPhone was also a handy feature, the whole experience was quick and seamless with no setup requirements - accessed through the default iOS printing menu options.

Azadeh Williams

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

A smarter way to print for busy small business owners, combining speedy printing with scanning and copying, making it easier to produce high quality documents and images at a touch of a button.

Andrew Grant

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

I've had a multifunction printer in the office going on 10 years now. It was a neat bit of kit back in the day -- print, copy, scan, fax -- when printing over WiFi felt a bit like magic. It’s seen better days though and an upgrade’s well overdue. This HP OfficeJet Pro 8730 looks like it ticks all the same boxes: print, copy, scan, and fax. (Really? Does anyone fax anything any more? I guess it's good to know the facility’s there, just in case.) Printing over WiFi is more-or- less standard these days.

Ed Dawson

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

As a freelance writer who is always on the go, I like my technology to be both efficient and effective so I can do my job well. The HP OfficeJet Pro 8730 Inkjet Printer ticks all the boxes in terms of form factor, performance and user interface.

Michael Hargreaves

Windows 10 for Business / Dell XPS 13

I’d happily recommend this touchscreen laptop and Windows 10 as a great way to get serious work done at a desk or on the road.

Featured Content

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?