To address accessibility issues, interfaces between the information
source and the end user have to be accessible as well. Usually, computer
interfaces that blind people use consists of keyboards and screen
readers. Some blind people who have learned Braille can use refreshable
Braille display. However neither of these devices is suitable to present
graphical information on the Web.
Moreover, to use a screen reader software, blind people have to go
through a training period in order to be familiar with the command
keystrokes and get used to the synthesized voice. Voice control and
speech input has been attempted to improve the interaction between
the user and the computer.
However, these types of system rely on the length of the training
and the accuracy of the speech recognition software. Therefore in
order to allow blind people to access information and input commands,
interfaces that can provide multimodal interaction will be ideal.
Different input and output methods based on speech, non-speech sound
and haptic representations will be developed.
Blind people are individuals that have different level of visual impairments.
Some of them are born blind, some are blind in the later stages of
their life due to illness or old age, whereas some still have residual
visions. Therefore there needs to be a range of different ways in
which information is presented to them. Interfaces that will be able
to recognize the needs of the users and generate appropriate information
representation will be developed.
Appropriate intelligence will be required to provide this kind of
flexibility based on the user profile, preference and location. Moreover,
users may use different types of input and output devices to access
information, it is important to ensure the interoperability of data
so that users can receive the same information despite the sensory
modality or device that is used.
The specific objectives in this area include:
- Developing interfaces that convey information through multiple sensory
- Building a context-aware system which will present information to
users in the appropriate form according to users' profile, location,
available resources, etc.
- Developing a scalable and interoperable architecture and mechanism
that allows information to be presented on different devices/platforms.