Disabled technologies pave the way for next generation mobile Web

Aug 03, 2006
Dr. Simon Harper
Dr. Simon Harper with mobile phone. Credit: University of Manchester

Scientists at The University of Manchester have a launched a new project which seeks to combine web accessibility with cutting-edge mobile phone technologies.

The aim of the three-year project is to develop a host of new software with the potential to make the mobile web as simple to use as the internet.

Currently, websites have to be re-designed to work on mobile phones. This is due to the fact that many conventional websites can't be displayed on small screens. Consequently, both the content and the choice of websites available on the mobile web are limited.

The RIAM project will draw on the experiences of blind and visually impaired users and the technologies they use to surf the internet, such as screenreaders, in a bid to simplify the content of conventional websites so that they can be accessed via the mobile web.

Dr Simon Harper from the University's School of Computer Science will lead the £205k project, funded by the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council, alongside semantic web expert Professor Ian Horrocks and web accessibility expert Yeliz Yesilada.

Dr Harper said: "Mobile web users are handicapped not by physiology but technology. Not only is the screen on the majority of phones very small, limiting the user's vision, but the information displayed is difficult to navigate and read.

"Add to this the fact that the content displayed is determined by a service provider and not the user and you have a web which is not very accessible or user friendly. Our aim is to change this by enabling web accessibility and mobile technologies to interoperate."

A core part of the project will be the development of a validation engine which will screen websites to ensure they are accessible and mobile web compatible.

The validation engine will work in tandem with a transcoding programme which will de-clutter web pages and reorder them into a web mobile friendly format. Once transcoded the aim is to let the user determine how the pages are displayed on their mobile phone.

Dr Harper added: "Screenreaders used by blind or visually impaired web users are very good at stripping web pages down into text only formats but what we want to achieve are content rich formats which are just as accessible."

Source: University of Manchester

Explore further: Can you trust that app?

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Airbnb remodels online home

Jul 17, 2014

Online lodgings listings service Airbnb on Wednesday took the wraps off a major remodel of its online home complete with a new logo.

Emerging trends in social media

Jul 03, 2014

Who knows what's hot in social media? Here at MIT, Chris Peterson can tell you a thing or two (or three). As Senior Counselor for Web Communications in MIT's Undergraduate Admissions Office, Peterson oversees ...

Recommended for you

Researchers jailbreak iOS 7.1.2

17 hours ago

Security researchers at the Georgia Tech Information Security Center (GTISC) have discovered a way to jailbreak current generation Apple iOS devices (e.g., iPhones and iPads) running the latest iOS software.

Smartphones as a health tool for older adults

17 hours ago

A team of researchers from the Universitat Politècnica de Catalunya · BarcelonaTech (UPC) and the Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona (UAB) is creating a smartphone app that will help older adults to understand ...

Can you trust that app?

18 hours ago

You're on your smartphone, browsing through Facebook. In a fit of productivity, you search for, say, a project management app to help you use your non-Instagram and cat video time more effectively. You download ...

Facebook's Internet.org expands in Zambia

Jul 31, 2014

(AP)—Facebook's Internet.org project is taking another step toward its goal of bringing the Internet to people who are not yet online with an app launching Thursday in Zambia.

Body by smartphone

Jul 30, 2014

We love our smartphones. Since they marched out of the corporate world and into the hands of consumers about 10 years ago, we've relied more and more on our iPhone and Android devices to organize our schedules, ...

User comments : 0