Enabled Logo: Enhanced Network Accesibility for the Blind And Visually Impaired


Accessible Web Contents

Multimodal Adaptive Interfaces

Wireless Networking

Mobile Computing





OFFIS logo

Kuratorium OFFIS e.V. (OFFIS), Germany

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[new window] OFFIS, which is founded in 1991, is an application-oriented non-profit research and development institute related to the Computer Science department of the University of Oldenburg in Lower Saxony, north-western Germany.

Its primary mission is to:

  • adopt the findings from university basic research in computer science and other relevant disciplines

  • stay in touch with new market demands through its many years of experience in co-operation projects with the industry and

  • bridge the gap between "basic research" and "application demands" through application oriented research.

The content-related work at OFFIS is performed in projects within fixed time scales. The institute has a wide spectrum of projects covered. Among them are projects which are financed through state funding from the Ministry for Science and Culture, publicly supported (e.g. by the EU or Federal Science Ministry), partly internationally-oriented third-party-funded projects or even specific development and consultancy projects. At the end of 2002 OFFIS staff counted 215 employees, from which 112 are scientists.

OFFIS now has six R&D activities:

  • Healthcare information and communication systems (IG)

  • Business information and knowledge management (BI)

  • Multimedia and internet information services (MI)

  • Embedded Hardware/Software Systems (HS)

  • Safety Critical Systems (SC)

  • Microsystems Technology and Nanohandling (MN)

The ENABLED project is located at the Multimedia and Internet Information services division. The division “Multimedia and Internet Information Services” places its focus on research and development in the areas of mobile services and environments, delivery of information on demand and virtual spaces.

Other keywords to describe the areas of expertise are:

  • Human-Computer Interaction, Auditory User interfaces, multimodal environments, User Interfaces for people with special needs (especially blind and visually impaired).

  • Usability Engineering, Requirements Analysis, experiments and evaluations.

  • Mobile applications, location based services, demand guidance information on location, mobile GIS systems, distributed software architectures,

  • personalization, user profiling, adaptive and context aware applications, smart (multimedia) authoring for smart (multimedia) content.

At the moment we are working in the project “Internet access for the blind”, which is a subproject within the large German lead project consortium INVITE – Intuitive User Interfaces for the Information Society of the Future, supported by the German Federal Ministry of Education, Science, Research and Technology for the period 1999-2003. The goal of the project was the development or adaptation of a web browser with a normal graphical user interface extended with an augmented auditory reality, in which the interactive objects of the user interface are represented by spatialized sounds (hearcons). We created an intuitive access to the semantics of the topographical and layout information for a visually impaired person, including access to the graphical objects, which have to be integrated into the auditory environment.

Key Personnel

  • Susanne Boll received her diploma degree with honors in computer science at the Technical University of Darmstadt, Germany, in 1996. She won the best thesis award of German National Research Center for Information Technology (GMD) in 1996. From 1995 to 2002 she has been working as a researcher at the Integrated Publication and Information Systems Institute of the GMD in Darmstadt (Germany), the University of Ulm (Germany) and the University of Vienna (Austria). She received her PhD with honors in October 2001. Since 2002, Susanne Boll is an Assistant Professor at the University of Oldenburg, Germany in the field of Multimedia and Internet technologies in the Department of Computer Science. Her research interest lies in the area of multimedia information systems, personalized multimedia content, location based multimedia services, and Web infrastructure for personalized multimedia services.

  • Jochen Meyer studied Computer Science at the University of Oldenburg from 1989 to 1994. He won the German National Computer Science Contest for students in 1989 and was hence awarded a scholarship of the German National Academic Foundation . After finishing his diploma he worked as a software developer for a software house. Since 1995 he works at the computer science research institute OFFIS in Oldenburg. He first worked as a research associate in the area of internet based information systems, where he participated in various projects, also funded by the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research. Since its foundation in 1998 he is director of the division “Multimedia and Internet Information Services, where he now is responsible for the coordination of the activities of more than 20 Scientist.

  • Wilko Heuten studied computing science at the University of Oldenburg and received his Diploma in 2001 in the Department of Information Systems. Since 2001 he works at OFFIS in the division of Multimedia and Internet Information Services. His research is focused on multimodal user interfaces, in particular in developing auditory and tactile displays as well as physical interaction for the non-visual exploration of real and virtual environments.

  • Niels Henze studied computing science at the University of Oldenburg and received his diploma 2006. Since June 2006 he works at OFFIS in the division of Multimedia and Internet Information Services. He is employed as a research associate and his research focus lies on multimodal interfaces and accessibility.

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