Workpackage description: 9: Visualization and Accessibility

Workpackage number: 9

Start date or starting event: Month 10

Lead Partner: W3C-ERCIM (2)

Participant short name: ILRT W3C-ERCIM CCLRC HP STILO
Participant number: 1 2 3 4 5
Person-months per participant: 2 12 4 0 0

Total number of deliverables: 3


Description of Work


The W3C Web Accessibility Initiative has been working since 1997 on requirements and methods for providing people who have disabilities with better access to Web content. A particularly important part of this work is to ensure that authoring systems can be developed to make this a more natural part of content generation for all authors, and to make it possible for people with disabilities to author and edit various types of content. This Work Package will investigate and prototype further use of Semantic Web technologies to support this work, leading to the development and demonstration of techniques by whereby the Semantic Web can be used to enhance accessibility.

This work has some dependency on the progress of Work Package 7. To develop techniques for using the information available in the Semantic Web it is necessary to assume that there are viable techniques for querying that information. However especially in the early stages this work package will avoid making requirements on how the Semantic Web can be searched and queried. In developing demonstrations, the current state of Work Package 7 will be taken into account, but unless there is only one possibly useful method for querying the demonstrations should clearly separate the technology for querying from the application of that technology to accessibility.

This Work Package may also make use of the work done in Work Packages 12.2 and 12.3 for some areas, but it does not rely on that work.

The results of this work are expected to be applicable to mobile technologies as well as accessibility, since there are similar use needs.

Authoring and accessibility

Authoring content that is accessible requires the author to provide some information in multiple formats. For example it is important to illustrate content with appropriate multimedia for people with disabilities that affect their ability to read text. It is also important that the content of this multimedia is accessible to people who cannot see it, or cannot hear it, or perhaps both. Rather than creating all information twice, in many cases it is possible to use existing material, and to find or provide a version in a particular medium.

For an author who herself has a disability, it is of critical importance to find relevant materials without having to develop them in all formats.

This work package is likely to focus on the use of XML technologies such as Scalable Vector Graphics (SVG) and Synchronized Multimedia Integration Language (SMIL), because XML technologies are ideally suited for integration with the Web in general and RDF in particular. However, since the research will be into the best ways of providing functionalities for users, and the available technology is rapidly changing, the work will produce techniques for specific technologies and also explain how these techniques can be applied to other formats.

The deliverables for this work package are expected to take three different forms. The first is to provide initial results of research into ways the Semantic Web can enhance accessibility. The second will take the form of providing a revised summary of this work to the relevant W3C Web Accessibility Initiative (WAI) groups for possible intergration into their documents and specifications. As a European project, SWAD-Europe cannot itself create or refine W3C specifications; we will however offer SWAD-Europe findings to relevant W3C groups for review and possible adoption of techniques and guidelines developed within the project. In this second phase the major outcome will be content offered to support updates to ongoing work in those groups; a summary report of the work will be produced, incorporating feedback from relevant W3C groups. The third phase will be to report on the experience of implementing these techniques in different kinds of software.