Virtual Reality and Accessibility References

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This is a list of references being collected by RQTF on the intersection of virtual reality and accessibility. It is a work in progress, and will grow with time, and should not be considered a definitive list of all relevant publications.


Promethean ClassFlow Announces New Digital Content Partnerships to Promote Collaborative & Immersive Learning

  • Year: 2017
  • Publication: Press Release, published in
  • Full text: tba
  • Keywords: tba

Abstract: ClassFlow, the free, next-generation lesson delivery software, announced new partnerships with leading digital content developers to provide teachers with expanded access to the latest innovative, immersive, and interactive educational content. According to Vin Riera, CEO of Promethean, "ClassFlow's mission is to improve education by working with teachers, schools, and students to create modern classrooms. Through its newly expanded roster of next-generation digital content partnerships, ClassFlow now provides teachers an even broader array of highly immersive interactive resources and tools for integrating STEM-based learning practices across a variety of subjects: "In 2014, I began implementing ClassFlow to optimize activities, such as delivering lessons and exercises, taking notes, and asking questions," said Dr. Valerie Camille Jones, mathematics specialist and recipient of the Presidential Award for Excellence in Mathematics and Science Teaching at Atlanta's The Ron Clark Academy. Established in 1999, NetDragon is a vertically integrated, cutting-edge R&D powerhouse with a highly successful...

Cyberspace: A new branch of international customary law?

  • Author: Polański, Paul Przemysław
  • Year: 2017
  • Journal: Computer Law & Security Review: The International Journal of Technology Law and Practice, Volume: 33, Issue: 3, Pages: 371-381
  • ISSN: 0267-3649
  • DOI: 10.1016/j.clsr.2017.03.007

Abstract: International relations between countries increasingly take place in cyberspace. From concerns about cyber security and Internet surveillance to privacy to harmful speech – state and non-state actors developed practices and normative conceptions that could be regarded as international customary law in statu nascendi. The aim of this contribution is to present arguments supporting the thesis that research concerning international law should be broadened to include cyberspace. Due to lack of treaty law in this area, one shall resort to a second source of international law, namely custom especially, as one eminent researcher has noted: ‘there are still numerous branches of international law regulated by customary law, and still more important, new rules of that law are raising’.

The article presents the theory of custom as a source of international law and methods of evidencing it in the context of cyberspace and then outlines areas where such norms could have developed and therefore could be used to settle disputes between states.

Notes (SH): Not directly relevant to this work

Universal Design for Learning

  • Author: Basham, James D., Smith, Sean J., Hall, Tracey E. and Satter, Allyson L.
  • Year: 2016
  • Journal: Journal of Special Education Technology, Volume: 31, Issue: 3, Pages: 147-155
  • Full text: Free, PDF download available from journal web site

Abstract: In the process of evaluating online learning products for accessibility, researchers in the Center on Online Learning and Students with Disabilities concluded that most often consultation guides and assessment tools were useful in determining sensory accessibility but did not extend to critical aspects of learning within the Universal Design for Learning (UDL) framework. To help fill this void in assessment, researchers created the UDL Scan tool to examine online learning products alignment to the UDL framework. This article provides an overview of how accessibility has been historically measured and introduces the need to move beyond the traditional understanding of accessibility to a broader UDL-based lens. With this understanding, a UDL Scan tool was developed and validated to investigate the alignment of online learning content to UDL. This article will present the process of development, the validation, and discuss how the measurements provide critical benchmarks for educators and industry as they adopt new online learning systems.

Notes (SH): This paper is a little beyond my level of understanding Would recommend another person read it to check its relevance, but as best I can tell not directly relevant to the VR work

From e-learning to VR-learning: An example of learning in an immersive virtual world

  • Author: Freina, L., Bottino, R. and Tavella, M.
  • Year: 2016
  • Journal: Journal of E-Learning and Knowledge Society, Volume: 12, Issue: 2, Pages: 101-113
  • Full text: Free, PDF download available from journal web site
  • ISSN: 18266223

Abstract: A first experience of use of “In Your Eyes”, an Immersive Virtual Reality (IVR) game to foster Spatial Perspective Taking (SPT) skills in young adults with mild cognitive impairments is described along with a brief discussion of the outcomes. IVR is an innovative tool thanks to which a new chapter in the history of e-learning begun. It is now possible to have a personal direct experience of virtual situations as if they were real, involving all the five senses and allowing for a kinaesthetic approach to learning. All those skills that have an embodied component find in the immersive world a perfect training situation. Spatial Perspective Taking is an important skill for orientation in space and mastering it supports independent mobility in town. The fact that the virtual world is perceived as if it was real, and the possibility to move freely into it, allows stimulating the embodied component of spatial reasoning. The gaming situation helps in keeping the player’s interest high and therefore helps in having as much training as needed. Furthermore, IVR makes learning transfer to real situations easier, especially for our target users.

Notes (SH):

  • This paper created a VR game to support people with mild intellectual and cognitive disabilities learn spatial concepts.
  • The VR game had the advantage, as opposed to the real world that the user could move all around the objects to get a better understanding, and check back with objects if not sure about the correct answer
  • Suggests that total immersion and gamification is a successful way to teach spatial awareness for people with mild intellectual and cognitive disabilities
  • Interestingly the paper indicated that Oculuus Rift users played the game for about half the amount of time that people did on the computer, raising an issue that while immersion is beneficial, there may be limitations on the optimal time for its use
  • Relevance: any accessibility solution may be limited in amount of time in one go for user to learn it

The Internet as a New Tool in the Rehabilitation Process of Patients-Education in Focus

  • Author: Forczek, Erzsébet, Makra, Péter, Lanyi, Cecilia and Bari, Ferenc
  • Year: 2015
  • Journal: International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health, Volume: 12, Issue: 3, Pages: 2373-2391
  • Full text: Free, Online and PDF download available from PubMed
  • ISSN: 1661-7827

Abstract: In the article we deal with the rehabilitation of patients using information technology, especially Internet support. We concentrate on two main areas in the IT support of rehabilitation: one of them is the support for individual therapy, the other one is providing patients with information, which is the basic step in emphasising individual responsibility. In the development of rehabilitation programmes, the knowledge of the IT professional and the therapist, in the IT support of web guidance, medical expertise plays the primary role. The degree of assistance involved in the rehabilitation process depends on the IT knowledge of medical (general practitioner, nursing staff) professionals as well.

The necessary knowledge required in healing and development processes is imparted to professionals by a special (full-time) university training. It was a huge challenge for us to teach web-based information organisation skills to doctors and nurses, and it is also a complex task to put forward such an IT viewpoint to information specialists in order to create the foundations of the cooperation between IT and healthcare professionals.

Notes (SH):

  • Paper focuses on the issue that ICT environments set up to assist with rehabilitation are difficult to achieve because doctors and nurses do not have the ICT knowledge to make use of them or provide guidance to the patient that needs them
  • Result: patients aren’t getting ICT/VR treatment that could potentially assist in their rehabilitation
  • Paper is mainly a scoping paper to highlight the issue
  • Relevance: the implementation of accessibility in ICT environments needs to be available and obvious

Non-visual virtual interaction: Can Sensory Substitution generically increase the accessibility of Graphical virtual reality to the blind?

  • Authors: Maidenbaum, S., & Amedi, A.
  • Year: 2015
  • Publication: In Virtual and Augmented Assistive Technology (VAAT), 2015 3rd IEEE VR International Workshop on (pp. 15-17). IEEE.
  • Full text: Free. Available as PDF download from author page at ResearchGate
  • Keywords: Universal access; Sensory substitution; blind; Virtual reality; Accessibility

Abstract: Most of the content of Graphical virtual environments is currently visual, severely limiting their accessibility to the blind population. While several steps improving this situation have been made in recent years they are mainly environment specific and there is still much more to be done. This is especially unfortunate as VR holds great potential for the blind, e.g., for safe orientation and learning.

We suggest in this position paper that Visual-to-audio Sensory Substitution Devices (SSDs) can potentially increase their accessibility generically fashion by sonifying the on-screen content regardless of the specific environment while allowing the user to capitalize upon his experience from other use of the device such as in the real world. We will demonstrate the potential of this approach using several recent examples from literature and from our own work.

Notes (SH):

  • Proposes the use of virtual assistive technologies to navigate virtual environments
  • Focuses on sensory substitution
  • EyeCane: real-life version uses IR beams to pick up objects Virtual EyeCane uses the same audio cues
  • “exploring virtual-EyeCane users navigation patterns it was found that they are far more similar to those of sighted users then to those of virtual-White-Cane users – e.g. users walked through the center of rooms, walked down the center of corridors instead of staying near walls”
  • Argument made is that when a VR environment is ‘sonified’ it gives people who are blind the opportunity to navigate safely at their own leisure and have access to additional perspectives such as Google Earth
  • Relevance: perhaps real-world AT can be a starting point with ICT-related AT added on

Blind Students' Challenges in Social Media Communication: An Early Investigation of Facebook Usability for Informal Learning

  • Author: Babu, Rakesh
  • Year: 2015
  • Journal: International Journal of Online Pedagogy and Course Design (IJOPCD), Volume: 5, Issue: 1, Pages: 58-73

Abstract: Social Networking Sites (SNS) are increasingly used in academia to facilitate informal learning, knowledge co-creation, and collaborative problem-solving. Deriving these pedagogic benefits requires SNS usability for all. This paper reports results of an early investigation into SNS usability for blind students. Think-aloud observations generated verbal evidence of six participants' Facebook interaction experiences. Verbal protocol analysis revealed where and how challenges arose in online social interactions. Design standards analysis identified responsible interface elements and potential remedial measures.

Results show that locating Friend's profile and Timeline, reading, writing, and posting messages were significantly challenging. Participants needed additional time and effort, and occasionally sighted help, to perform these basic SNS functions that are integral parts of informal learning activities. Feasible design improvements are proposed that merit further investigation. Implications for educators, learning technologists, cognitive scientists, and usability experts are discussed.

IT-based touch panel cognition and development for the visually impaired: an experimental study in Taiwan

  • Author: Tang, Jenn
  • Year: 2015
  • Journal: Cognition, Technology & Work, Volume: 17, Issue: 4, Pages: 547-557
  • Full text: Restricted, available from Springer web site or ACM Digital Library
  • ISSN: 1435-5558
  • DOI: 10.1007/s10111-015-0336-0

Abstract: In order to understand the cognition of Taiwanese visually impaired people who use an IT-based touch panel, a prototype named the Chinese Braille Simulator is developed. This prototype uses braille simulation software, speech synthesis and a touch panel to allow people with impaired vision to send and receive short messages. The TAM and content analysis are used, and our findings show that visually impaired people find the IT-based touch panel both interesting and useful. We conclude that current technology developers should focus on a braille interface in IT-based touch panels for the visually impaired. Short-, mid- and long-term recommendations for practitioners are also made.

Accessible Options for Deaf People in e-Learning Platforms: Technology Solutions for Sign Language Translation

  • Author: Martins, Paulo, Rodrigues, Henrique, Rocha, Tânia, Francisco, Manuela and Morgado, Leonel
  • Year: 2015
  • Journal: Procedia Computer Science, Volume: 67, Pages: 263-272
  • Full text: Free, PDF available for download from ScienceDirect
  • ISSN: 1877-0509
  • DOI: 10.1016/j.procs.2015.09.270

Abstract: This paper presents a study on potential technology solutions for enhancing the communication process for deaf people on e-learning platforms through translation of Sign Language (SL). Considering SL in its global scope as a spatial-visual language not limited to gestures or hand/forearm movement, but also to other non-dexterity markers such as facial expressions, it is necessary to ascertain whether the existing technology solutions can be effective options for the SL integration on e-learning platforms. Thus, we aim to present a list of potential technology options for the recognition, translation and presentation of SL (and potential problems) through the analysis of assistive technologies, methods and techniques, and ultimately to contribute for the development of the state of the art and ensure digital inclusion of the deaf people in e-learning platforms. The analysis show that some interesting technology solutions are under research and development to be available for digital platforms in general, but yet some critical challenges must solved and an effective integration of these technologies in e-learning platforms in particular is still missing.

Depth-to-audio sensory substitution for increasing the accessibility of virtual environments

  • Authors: Maidenbaum, S., Chebat, D. R., Levy-Tzedek, S., & Amedi, A.
  • Year: 2014
  • Publication: International Conference on Universal Access in Human-Computer Interaction (pp. 398-406). Springer, Cham
  • Full text: Free, PDF download available from author web site
  • Keywords: tba

Abstract: As most computerized information is visual, it is not directly accessible to the blind and visually impaired. This challenge is especially great when discussing graphical virtual environments. This is especially unfortunate as such environments hold great potential for the blind community for uses such as social interaction, online education and especially for safe mobility training from the safety and comfort of their home. While several previous attempts have increased the accessibility of these environments current tools are still far from making them properly accessible.

We suggest the use of Sensory Substitution Devices (SSDs) as another step in increasing the accessibility of such environments by offering the user more raw "visual" information about the scene via other senses. Specifically, we explore here the use of a minimal-SSD based upon the EyeCane, which uses point depth distance information of a single pixel, for tasks such as virtual shape recognition and virtual navigation. We show both success and the fast learned use of this transformation by our users in these tasks, demonstrating the potential for this approach and end with a call for its addition to accessibility toolboxes

Rendering virtual worlds in audio and text

  • Authors: Kruger, R., & van Zijl, L.
  • Year: 2014
  • Publication: Proceedings of International Workshop on Massively Multiuser Virtual Environments (pp. 1-2). ACM.
  • Full text: Free, PDF download available from ResearchGate author page
  • Keywords: tba

Abstract: tba

Vision-deprived virtual navigation patterns using depth cues & the effect of extended sensory range

  • Authors: Maidenbaum, S., Chebat, D. R., Levy-Tzedek, S., & Amedi, A.
  • Year: 2014
  • Publication: CHI'14 Extended Abstracts on Human Factors in Computing Systems (pp. 1231-1236). ACM.
  • Full text: Free, available as PDF download from author site
  • Keywords: tba

Abstract: How does the lack of vision affect one's path through real & virtual environments? How do these routes change when different assistive tools, such as the traditional White-Cane or new devices such as the EyeCane, are used? These questions have significant repercussions as independent Mobility poses one of the main challenges facing the blind. Here, we use a series of virtual environments and non-visual interfaces to comparatively explore the differences in intuitive navigation: when using the virtual-EyeCane, when using a virtual White-Cane, when navigating without using a device at all and finally when navigating visually.

We show that using the virtual-EyeCane as a non-visual interface to virtual environments increases their accessibility, that characteristics of navigating with it are different from those of White-Cane users and from those of navigation without an assistive device, and that users of the virtual-EyeCane complete more levels successfully, taking a shorter path and with less collisions than users of the white cane or no device. Finally, we demonstrate that navigation with the virtual-EyeCane takes on patterns relatively similar to those of navigating visually.

[Web Ontology Language Ontology for Scalable Vector Graphics]

  • Author: Mathis, Regina, Laszlo, Michael J., Hafner, William and Levy, Yair
  • Year: 2014
  • Publisher: ProQuest Dissertations Publishing

Abstract: Using the World Wide Web of today, searching for a graphic pertaining to a particular subject domain or in response to a specific query is a difficult task. A typical search for a graphic related to a specific subject matter or query may yield hundreds or thousands of Web resources, few of which relate to the intended meaning. The primary goal of the completed dissertation is to develop and assess the feasibility of using a global ontology for Scalable Vector Graphics (SVG) written in the Semantic Web markup language Web Ontology Language (OWL). SVG is an eXtensible Markup Language (XML) based technology used to describe two-dimensional graphics.

SVG has the ability to fully scale images without loss of resolution, provide file sizes that are independent of resolution, represent text as text strings allowing the graphic to be fully searched for content, and support a rich set of geometrical primitives. An SVG OWL ontology provides three benefits. First, the ontology enables powerful semantic search engines to quickly and efficiently pinpoint SVG graphics and relate these graphics to specific knowledge domains. Second, the ontology enables semantic search engines to understand the content of a SVG graphic and infer relationships between the content of the graphic and specific domains. Lastly, enabling SVG graphics to be annotated in varying levels of abstraction allows the graphic to be reused in other contexts.

The research methods included developing the framework for the model, identifying the entities to be used in the ontology, representing the conceptual elements using Unified Modeling Language (UML), converting the UML to OWL, evaluating the ontology to ensure that it meets the requirements initially presented, developing a working system based on the ontology and testing this system, and documenting the development process. Regarding experimental results, a total of 69 queries were applied to a set of 500 images representing a range of both primitive and derived spatial properties. Both recall and precision were perfect, indicating the feasibility of effective ontology-based search for annotated vector graphics through this approach. The question of scalability to more complex and realistic settings remains for future research.

Advance human-machine interface automatic evaluation

  • Author: González Calleros, Juan, Guerrero García, Josefina and Vanderdonckt, Jean
  • Year: 2013
  • Journal: Universal Access in the Information Society, Volume: 12, Issue: 4, Pages: 387-401
  • Full text: Restricted, available from Springer web site or ACM Digital Library
  • ISSN: 16155289
  • DOI: 10.1007/s10209-013-0310-7

Abstract: The need for accessibility evaluation tools is motivated by several endogenous and exogenous reasons coming from the end user (the designer and the developer) and companies releasing information systems. Existing evaluation tools mainly concentrate on examining the code of Web pages: Web pages more and more frequently contain non-HTML parts that entirely escape from being treated by existing techniques. This is the case of the advanced human-machine interface (AHMI), a piece of software programmed in C/C++, used for controlling the advanced flight management system in the aircraft cockpit.

Studying this new user interface (UI) requires a structured approach to evaluate and validate AHMI designs. The goal in this work is to develop an evaluation tool to automate the process of evaluating the AHMI. The method addresses: support of multiple bases of guidelines (accessibility or usability or both) on-demand (partial or total evaluation), with different levels of details (a presentation for developers and for those responsible for certifying accessibility). The method goes a step toward the automatic evaluation of UI containing non-HTML parts.

[Beyond minimum technology requirements: Course characteristics for the instructional design of virtual programs at the elementary grade levels]

  • Author: Vytlacil, Kerrie, Marrapodi, Michael, Krebs, Tyler and Rynearson, Kim
  • Year: 2013
  • Publisher: ProQuest Dissertations Publishing

Abstract: With virtual public school initiatives in each of the 50 states, there is an impetus to develop and implement online programs for the elementary grades (Cavanaugh, 2004, pp. 262-266 Oliver et al., p. 56). Yet, learner usability characteristics for successful online schooling for the elementary grades are unknown and/or unspecified. The purpose of this qualitative Delphi study was to explore factors that online elementary educators, online elementary curriculum coordinators and developers, and virtual school administrators believe influence elementary learner engagement in the design of online programs. This study used the classic qualitative Delphi method to answer the central research question by allowing experts to answer the research subquestions in three survey rounds until final consensus answers addressing the central research question were reached. The analysis procedures were based on the models of Hasson et al. (2000) and Kurubacak (2007).

The data from each of the three survey rounds was analyzed with basic descriptive statistics (frequency and mean) and categorized by the themes of the four research study subquestions. It was expected that participant answers would include the desire and/or need for more engaging interactions and instructional games for the online elementary student. It was also expected that participant answers might indicate preference for childlike primary color design features and cartoon characters.

Participant answers supported interactivity, games, and bright colors, and did not support primary colors or cartoon figures. A possible result from this study includes improvements to the course development phase of instructional design for developers, administrators, and instructors of virtual school programs. Additionally, with a more accurate development analysis for instructors and designers of elementary programs for online use, elementary students who experience barriers from multimedia and interactive features may gain additional e-learning options for differentiation, accessibility, and usability within the course design.

[Providing universally accessible interactive services through TV sets: implementation and validation with elderly users]

  • Author: Epelde, Gorka, Valencia, Xabier, Carrasco, Eduardo, Posada, Jorge, Abascal, Julio, Diaz-Orueta, Unai, Zinnikus, Ingo and Husodo-Schulz, Christian
  • Year: 2013
  • Journal: An International Journal, Volume: 67, Issue: 2, Pages: 497-528
  • ISSN: 1380-7501
  • DOI: 10.1007/s11042-011-0949-0

Abstract: One of the challenges that Ambient Intelligence (AmI) faces is the provision of a usable interaction concept to its users, especially for those with a weak technical background. In this paper, we describe a new approach to integrate interactive services provided by an AmI environment with the television set, which is one of the most widely used interaction client in the home environment. The approach supports the integration of different TV set configurations, guaranteeing the possibility to develop universally accessible solutions. An implementation of this approach has been carried out as a multimodal/multi-purpose natural human computer interface for elderly people, by creating adapted graphical user interfaces and navigation menus together with multimodal interaction (simplified TV remote control and voice interaction). In addition, this user interface can also be suited to other user groups. We have tested a prototype that adapts the videoconference and the information service with a group of 83 users. The results from the user tests show that the group found the prototype to be both satisfactory and efficient to use.

[Ergonomics of usability/accessibility-ready websites: Tools and guidelines]

  • Author: Al-Badi, Ali, Ali, Saqib and Al-Balushi, Taiseera
  • Year: 2012
  • Journal: Webology, Volume: 9, Issue: 2, Pages: 1-30

Abstract: The 'user-friendliness' of a website indicates to what extent it is easy for all intended users to interact with website to perform their required task(s). Given the explosive growth in the use of computerized systems as well as the World Wide Web for delivering information and services, usability/accessibility becomes an important issue. The purpose of this research is to study the available literature on usability/accessibility ready websites and their tools and guidelines. The research findings will help web engineers to build websites and web services accessible for all the target audience, including people with special needs. People with special needs meet barriers of all types, but computing technology is helping them to overcome these barriers. Accordingly, a great amount of development work has been carried out in the area of designing websites for disabled people, and it is increasingly becoming an important focus for a variety of reasons, legal (due to recent legislation in many countries promoting the rights of disabled people), economic, or ethical.

Web engineers are increasingly aware that they need to ensure the usability of mainstream systems for disabled people by developing systems explicitly to meet the needs of disabled users (often referred to as assistive technologies), which also require evaluation to ensure their usability for the target audience. A descriptive/interpretive research method was used for the study of usability, accessibility, globalization, readability and culture differences based on related literatures and on previous studies by academics and industrial institutions.


  • Author: Belingardi, Giovanni and Obradovic, Jovan
  • Year: 2012
  • Journal: Acta Technica Corviniensis - Bulletin of Engineering, Volume 5, Issue: 2, Pages: 65-68

Abstract: New dimension and possibilities for teaching and education in all fields are offered by the use of information and communication technologies (ICT) and e-learning systems. The introduction of these systems will improve, supplement and aid traditional teaching methods and will also enable the beginning of different teaching and learning processes that are less limited in space and time. This offers also new insight into subjects that are not possible with traditional methods. The Centre for e-learning activities and the multimedia production and testing (CELMI) at Politecnico di Torino, aims to be the institutional reference for the coordination of support activities in the area of technology and multimedia training. The Centre puts the particular emphasis on skills in e-learning and open and distance learning and on the activities related to the release and testing of multimedia technologies. This paper is presenting the use of high technology communication systems at Politecnico di Torino, implemented with the purpose of improved university education. Also, the multidisciplinary working systems, communication models, multimedia and video production, videoconferencing systems and special services for disabled, are briefly described.

Multimodal Interaction Experience for Users with Autism in a 3D Environment

  • Authors: Sbattella, L., Tedesco, R., & Trivilini, A.
  • Year: 2012
  • Publication: Proceedings of the 6th European Conference on Games Based Learning: ECGBL (p. 442). Academic Conferences Limited.
  • Full text: Free. Available as PDF download from author page at Researchgate
  • Keywords: Multimodality, Interaction, Accessibility, Autism, Learning, Virtual Reality

Abstract: The paper presents a new multimodal 3D education environment for children with autism. The new multimodal interaction system considers a combination of visual, voice, and textual modalities. In particular, it allows children with autism to access contents through easy iconic symbols designed to guide them into the innovative environment. For that purpose, it has been very important to consider and identify the classes and attributes necessary to correctly describe different users.

In the architecture hierarchy three different user profiles have been considered and structured, following the ICF* model (an extension of the WHO International Classification of Functioning, Disability and Health guidelines), and describing both static and dynamic properties. A specific iconic language has been used to enrich and to present the virtual environment. Simultaneous visual, audio, and cognitive stimuli have been carefully used: they could be potential barriers but also rich opportunities for persons with autism. It has not been only a matter of putting information in a virtual space; it has been necessary to design and develop new languages, metaphors, and codes of interaction, in order to reduce the distance between the user and the system.

In this case, communication talks via images, sounds, and gestures have been fundamental. The approach of the project takes into account the user model, the user profiles, the personalization, and the experimentation.

E-Learning Standards and their Necessity

  • Author: Deora, Bharat and Sarangdevot, Prof
  • Year: 2011
  • Journal: International Journal of Advanced Research in Computer Science, Volume: 2, Issue: 5
  • Full text: Restricted, requires journal subscription

Abstract: The advancement of ICT gives new directions to e-learning and the world has started to understand that e-learning is important because it can make a significant difference: to how quickly one can learn a skill to the ease with which one can study and to the degree to which learning can be made enjoyable. E-learning has the power to bring quality and accessible learning to everyone so that every learner can achieve goals of the study. The present world is surrounded by e-learning at home, at work and, at the college. It also contributes to the objective of education by raising standards, improving quality of education, removing barriers to learning, preparing for employment, up skilfulness in the workplace and, ensuring that all learners achieve their target. The benefits of e-learning are increasing year by year. E-learning is achieving their goals due to acceptance of accredited e-learning standards. The main organizations working for e-learning standards include AICC, IEEE, IMS and ADL. This article gives an overview of various e-learning standards available & future possibilities and their necessity for creating a uniform learning platform.

[Personalized emergency medical assistance for disabled people]

  • Author: Chittaro, Luca, Carchietti, Elio, De Marco, Luca and Zampa, Agostino
  • Year: 2011
  • Journal: User Modeling and User - Adapted Interaction, Volume: 21, Issue: 4-5, Pages: 407-440
  • ISSN: 09241868
  • DOI: 10.1007/s11257-010-9092-2

Abstract: Being able to promptly and accurately choose a proper course of action in the field is a crucial aspect of emergency response. For this reason, emergency medical services (EMS) rely on well established procedures that apply to the most frequent cases first responders encounter in their practice, but do not include special cases concerning (sensory, motor or cognitive) disabled persons. In these cases, first responders may end up applying suboptimal or possibly wrong procedures or lose precious time trying to adapt on-the-fly to the special case.

This paper proposes both (i) a detailed patient model for EMS that can account for peculiar aspects of the many existing disabilities and (ii) an adaptive information system called PRESYDIUM (Personalized Emergency System for Disabled Humans) that provides tailored instructions in the field for helping medical first responders in dealing with disabled persons. More precisely, we will illustrate and discuss: (i) the design and development process of PRESYDIUM, (ii) the patient model, which is partly based on the ICF (International Classification of Functioning, Disability and Health) standard proposed by the World Health Organization, (iii) the knowledge base used by the system to provide tailored instructions to medical first responders, (iv) the Web-based architecture of the system, (v) the different interfaces--including one for mobile devices--the system provides to enable all the identified stakeholders (disabled persons, their families, clinicians, EMS call center operators, medical first responders) to easily access and possibly provide data to the system, (vi) the evaluation of the validity of the patient model and of the system usability which has been conducted with end users.

[Accessible presentation of information for people with visual disabilities]

  • Author: Power, Christopher and Jürgensen, Helmut
  • Year: 2010
  • Journal: International Journal, Volume: 9, Issue: 2, Pages: 97-119

Abstract: Personal computers, palm top computers, media players and cell phones provide instant access to information from around the world. There are a wide variety of options available to make that information available to people with visual disabilities, so many that choosing one for use in any given context can often feel daunting to someone new to the field of accessibility. This paper reviews tools and techniques for the presentation of textual, graphic, mathematic and web documents through audio and haptic modalities to people with visual disabilities.

Synthesizing meaningful feedback for exploring virtual worlds using a screen reader

  • Authors: Oktay, B., & Folmer, E.
  • Year: 2010
  • Publication: CHI'10 Extended Abstracts on Human Factors in Computing Systems (pp. 4165-4170). ACM.
  • Full text: Restricted, ACM Digital Library
  • Keywords: tba

Abstract: tba

[A unified methodology for the evaluation of accessibility and usability of mobile applications]

  • Author: Billi, Marco, Burzagli, Laura, Catarci, Tiziana, Santucci, Giuseppe, Bertini, Enrico, Gabbanini, Francesco and Palchetti, Enrico
  • Year: 2010
  • Journal: International Journal, Volume: 9, Issue: 4, Pages: 337-356
  • ISSN: 1615-5289
  • DOI: 10.1007/s10209-009-0180-1

Abstract: This article reports a unified methodology developed to evaluate the accessibility and usability of mobile computing applications, which is intended to guarantee universal access as far as possible. As a basis for the methodology, this paper presents an analysis of the accessibility guidelines, conducted to take into account the specificity of mobile systems, as well as a set of usability heuristics, specifically devised for mobile computing. Finally, it presents the results of the application of the proposed methodology to applications that have been semi-automatically developed by the MAIS Designer, a new design tool that provides applications suited to different mobile devices.

[TextSL: a command-based virtual world interface for the visually impaired]

  • Authors: Folmer, E., Yuan, B., Carr, D., & Sapre, M.
  • Year: 2009
  • Publication: Proceedings of the 11th international ACM SIGACCESS conference on Computers and accessibility (pp. 59-66). ACM
  • Full text: Restricted, ACM Digital Library
  • Keywords: tba

Abstract: tba

Cognitive science meets computing science: The future of cognitive systems and cognitive engineering

  • Authors: Adams, R
  • Year: 2009
  • Publication: Information Technology Interfaces, 2009. ITI '09
  • Full text: Restricted, IEEE Explore
  • Keywords: tba

Abstract: We stand at the threshold of a dramatic and exciting new time in humanity's development. As irreplaceable physical resources inevitably dwindle, we shall increasingly come to rely much more on cognitive resources that consume less and less energy. (Here, I define cognitive resources as those resources that support and facilitate human cognition, ideally in intelligent ways). In this keynote address, I report on a programme of research conducted at my research centre and by my colleagues in their own universities. I also consider the potential development of current research trends for now and the future.

[Towards generalized accessibility of video games for the visually impaired]

  • Author: Yuan, Bei, Harris, Frederick C., Folmer, Eelke, Dascalu, Sergiu, Etezadi-Amoli, Mehdi, Nicolescu, Monica and Williams, W. Larry
  • Year: 2009
  • Publisher: ProQuest Dissertations Publishing

Abstract: Over the last three decades, video games have evolved from an obscure pastime to a force of change that is transforming the way people perceive, learn about, and interact with the world around them. Video games are not only a popular form of entertainment, but are increasingly being used for other purposes, such as education and health, as well. Despite this increased interest, a significant number of people encounter barriers when playing games, due to a disability.

This dissertation, and our identification of a generalized game interaction model, helps provide an understanding of how video games can be designed and modified to improve their accessibility features. An estimated 11% of U.S. population are discovered to play video games with sub-optimal gaming experience because of a disability. A large number of existing, accessible games have been studied and analyzed to provide insights and understanding as to the importance of encouraging universal access in this field. Though our survey work covered several types of disabilities, the bulk of this dissertation focuses on improving accessibility for the visually impaired. Specific design strategies are illustrated and proven by the development and evaluation of actual blind-accessible games.

Case studies are presented for each of the three games we developed during the research period. We developed the first mainstream game using haptic feedback. The first screen-reader-accessible virtual world interface is built to explore more strategies for developing blind-accessible games. A third game, developed for sighted users, demonstrates that data collected during gameplay can be used for other purposes including improving accessibility in another game (Second Life). Furthermore, user studies were conducted that focus on the enjoyment, educational, and social interaction aspects of these games while evaluating their ease of access.

Exploring visual and motor accessibility in navigating a virtual world

  • Authors: Trewin, S., Laff, M., Hanson, V., & Cavender, A.
  • Year: 2009
  • Publication: ACM Transactions on Accessible Computing (TACCESS), 2(2), 11.
  • Full text: Restricted, ACM Digital Library
  • Keywords: tba

Abstract: For many millions of users, 3D virtual worlds provide an engaging, immersive experience heightened by a synergistic combination of visual realism with dynamic control of the user’s movement within the virtual world. For individuals with visual or dexterity impairments, however, one or both of those synergistic elements are impacted, reducing the usability and therefore the utility of the 3D virtual world. This article considers what features are necessary to make virtual worlds usable by such individuals.

Empirical work has been based on a multiplayer 3D virtual world game called PowerUp, to which we have built in an extensive set of accessibility features. These features include in-world navigation and orientation tools, font customization, self-voicing text-to-speech output, key remapping options, and keyboard-only and mouse-only navigation. Through empirical work with legally blind teenagers and adults with cerebral palsy, these features have been refined and validated.

Whereas accessibility support for users with visual impairment often revolves around keyboard navigation, these studies emphasized the need to support visual aspects of pointing device actions too. Other notable findings include use of speech to supplement sound effects for novice users, and, for those with cerebral palsy, a general preference to use a pointing device to look around the world, rather than keys or on-screen buttons. The PowerUp accessibility features provide a core level of accessibility for the user groups studied.

[An empirical investigation into the difficulties experienced by visually impaired Internet users]

  • Author: Murphy, Emma, Kuber, Ravi, McAllister, Graham, Strain, Philip and Yu, Wai
  • Year: 2008
  • Journal: International Journal, Volume: 7, Issue: 1, Pages: 79-91
  • ISSN: 1615-5289
  • DOI: 10.1007/s10209-007-0098-4

Abstract: In this paper, an empirical based study is described which has been conducted to gain a deeper understanding of the challenges faced by the visually impaired community when accessing the Web. The study, involving 30 blind and partially sighted computer users, has identified navigation strategies, perceptions of page layout and graphics using assistive devices such as screen readers. Analysis of the data has revealed that current assistive technologies impose navigational constraints and provide limited information on web page layout. Conveying additional spatial information could enhance the exploration process for visually impaired Internet users. It could also assist the process of collaboration between blind and sighted users when performing web-based tasks. The findings from the survey have informed the development of a non-visual interface, which uses the benefits of multimodal technologies to present spatial and navigational cues to the user.

PowerUp: an accessible virtual world

  • Authors: Trewin, S., Hanson, V. L., Laff, M. R., & Cavender, A.
  • Year: 2008
  • Publication: In Proceedings of the 10th international ACM SIGACCESS conference on Computers and accessibility (pp. 177-184). ACM.
  • Full text: Restricted, ACM Digital Library
  • Keywords: tba

Abstract: PowerUp is a multi-player virtual world educational game with a broad set of accessibility features built in. This paper considers what features are necessary to make virtual worlds usable by individuals with a range of perceptual, physical, and cognitive disabilities.

The accessibility features were included in the PowerUp game and validated, to date, with blind and partially sighted users. These features include in-world navigation and orientation tools, font customization, self-voicing text-to-speech output, and keyboard-only and mouse-only navigation. We discuss user requirements gathering, the validation study, and further work needed.

Accessibility in virtual worlds

  • Authors: Trewin, S. M., Laff, M. R., Cavender, A., & Hanson, V. L.
  • Year: 2008
  • Publication: In CHI'08 extended abstracts on Human factors in computing systems (pp. 2727-2732). ACM.
  • Full text: Restricted, ACM Digital Library
  • Keywords: tba

Abstract: Virtual worlds present both an opportunity and a challenge to people with disabilities. Standard ways to make such worlds accessible to a broad set of users have yet to emerge, although some core requirements are already clear. This paper describes work in progress towards an accessible 3D multi-player game that includes a set of novel tools for orienting, searching and navigating the world.

[Upper-extremity performance assessment using an interactive, personalized computer-assisted neurorehabilitation motivating framework]

  • Author: Feng, Xin, Winters, Jack M.
  • Year: 2007
  • Publisher: ProQuest Dissertations Publishing

Abstract: The disability and aging populations have been increasing during the last decade. In the United States, stroke affects about 5.6 million individuals today the aging population has grown to about one in every eight Americans. Economic pressure has gradually shifted the burden of rehabilitation to outpatient and home healthcare with limited supervision, creating a need for alternative approaches to neurorehabilitation. These approaches should be cost-effective and accessible for the home environment, while also semi-autonomously providing timely assessment and a greater amount of therapy. In response to this challenge, a computer-assisted motivational neurorehabilitation framework, coined "UniTherapy", has been designed and implemented. It uniquely integrates three core technologies: (i) support for a suite of standard-compliant computer input devices, including force-reflecting joysticks and driving wheels as physical therapeutic interfaces, (ii) support for a suite of personalizable and remotely tunable goal-directed performance assessment and motivational interventional exercise protocols, including features like data archive, management, and analysis tools, and (iii) support for providing personalized user interfaces that are tuned to the abilities and preferences of the user while also supporting emerging user interface and remote access standards.

The potential of the framework was evaluated via a suite of collaborative pilot studies. By using the selected goal-directed tasks and kinematic metrics, it was shown that the framework had the capability to differentiate between human subjects with various level of stroke-induced impairment and performance differences under different task settings (e.g. device type, force field settings). Usability data from study subjects, as well as from a focus group consisting of rehabilitation practitioners, suggested that the potential of the framework as a cost-effective, sensor-based assessment tool and a home-based motivational therapy platform. A second study evaluated the movement features of subjects with stroke-induced impairment in the trajectory tracking tasks under different force and tracking speed settings using the UniTherapy platform.

Nonlinear effects for the selected kinematic measures confirm the necessity to customize the parameters of the training protocol for each individual client. The force from the conventional joystick is enough to influence the performance of accuracy and stability across subjects. The results also suggest that the selected kinematic metrics can be sensitive clinical measures, yet quick to administer in a simple setup. In summary, a computer-assisted motivational neurorehabilitation framework has been designed and implemented. The results of the evaluation studies had shown its potential as a sensitive upper-extremity assessment tool and a home-based motivating therapy platform. The results from the goal-directed task under various task settings, suggest the necessity to personalize the parameters of the training protocol for each client.

[Virtual reality and its role in removing the barriers that turn cognitive impairments into intellectual disability]

  • Authors: Standen, P. J., & Brown, D. J.
  • Year: 2006
  • Publication: Virtual Reality, 10(3-4), 241-252.
  • Full text: tba
  • Keywords: tba

Abstract: tba

[Multi-modal exploration]

  • Author: Power, Christopher
  • Year: 2006
  • Publisher: ProQuest Dissertations Publishing

Keywords: Visually Impaired, Blind, Multi-modal, Exploration, Translation, Voronoi Diagram

Abstract: We investigate the problem of providing accessible documents to visually impaired people through electronic mediation. In particular, we focus on the presentation of multi-modal documents through refreshing pin displays. First, we examine the influence that refreshing pin display technology can have on the format of tactile picture. Inaccuracies in the reporting of finger positions from electronic tactile displays can result in errors in the audio presentation of multi-modal applications.

We conduct an experiment to examine the accuracy of one such device. Given the results of this experiment, we present a collection of recommendations for the spacing of objects within a tactile scene. Following this, we describe an algorithm for the detection of targets which will be encountered by a visually impaired user while exploring a two dimensional diagram on a refreshing tactile display. A user test examining the success of this algorithm during a targeted search task is described.

We discuss the implications of this work on interface design for the visually impaired, including the planned inclusion of this algorithm in a multi-modal document browser. Finally, we propose an architecture for multi-modal document presentation. This architecture, and a prototype application based on it, provide a framework for future in inclusion of these results in the presentation of documents to visually impaired people.

[Teaching and learning at Concordia University: Meeting the evolving education needs of faculty in providing access for university students with disabilities]

  • Author: Bissonnette, Leo
  • Year: 2006
  • Publisher: ProQuest Dissertations Publishing

Abstract: Computing and communications technologies are becoming increasingly central to the way faculty at universities carry out their educational mission. Little is known about how faculty are taking into account the needs of their students with disabilities when integrating technology into their courses. A survey (Fichten, Asuncion, Barile, Fossey & DeSimone, 2000) of a small number of faculty found that professors generally do not know what to do to ensure that students with disabilities have full access to electronic course material or how access problems can be solved.

The sample for this exploratory study consisted of 344 full-time and part-time Concordia University faculty, identified as having students with disabilities enrolled in their courses during the 2003-2004 academic year. Two intricately related components composed this study: a faculty survey (with a return rate of 34.3%), and follow-up semi-structured interviews with 30 faculty. The present study further explored training over internet, listservs, e-mail, or CD-ROM that can be provided in various self-paced formats.

Findings of interest included: 81 out of 101 respondents (80.2%) reported that they had not considered the needs of these students, while 12 respondents (11.8%) indicated that they had partially taken into account the needs of their students with disabilities. A small group of 8 faculty (7.9%) definitely took into account the needs of their students with disabilities. However, the present study also revealed that there is a willingness by faculty to be trained in this area. When questioned about their preferred medium for interactive training, most respondents chose more than one. The most popular category chosen by 98 out of 114 respondents was a website (85.0%) followed by printed material selected by 94 respondents (82.2%) and CD-Rom chosen by 93 instructors (81.6%). 91 respondents (79.8%) indicated a combination of the three mentioned above. For those who chose other and gave examples, a common specification by them was a trainer. Practical strategic implications for those involved in providing support to faculty adopting educational technology are outlined and discussed. Recommendations for future research are provided.

[Using ICT with people with special education needs: what the literature tells us]

  • Author: Williams, Peter, Jamali, Hamid and Nicholas, David
  • Year: 2006
  • Journal: Aslib Proceedings, Volume: 58, Issue: 4, Pages: 330-345
  • ISSN: 0001253X
  • DOI: 10.1108/00012530610687704

Abstract: Purpose: To provide a review of the past studies on use of information and communications technology (ICT) for people with special education needs (SEN) to inform a major research project on using ICT to facilitate self-advocacy and learning for SEN learners.

Design/methodology/approach: Literature review, encompassing academic journals indexed in education, information science and social sciences databases, books, grey literature (including much internet-based material), and government reports. Information was gathered on the perceived benefits of ICT in SEN, and the use of some specific applications with people having various conditions. A number of usability studies, mainly Internet and web technologies, are also outlined.

Findings: Although the literature shows a great number of ICT initiatives for people with all kinds of disabilities, there has been a surprising lack of research into the usability of the various applications developed, and even less concerning those with learning difficulties. The review of existing literature indicates a lack of attention to the application of ICT for people with SEN, compared to the other groups of disabled people such as visually impaired. Originality/value &#150 Findings highlight the need for more research on usability aspects of current and potential applications of ICT for people with SEN.

[An evaluation of audioconferencing as a collaborative tool for Japanese teleworkers with physical disabilities]

  • Author: Xu, Annie
  • Year: 2006
  • Publisher: ProQuest Dissertations Publishing

Abstract: This study examined how audioconferencing can be adapted for use by teleworkers with physical disabilities. A field trial with teleworkers of a Japanese company using the Vocal Village, a spatialized audioconferencing system, was conducted. Prior to the field trial, a number of activities were carried out including, review of relevant literature, user profiling, requirements gathering, interface customization, task structuring, and evaluation of the existing Vocal Village system. During the trial, a team of seven teleworkers with physical disabilities developed a website over a two week period. They provided feedback on their experience in using the Vocal Village in their work both during and after the trial. The audioconferencing interface was customized to meet the requirements of the trial participants. Results concerning usability, work satisfaction and related measures were also reported, along with design recommendations for further initiatives and research in the area of audioconferencing for teleworkers with physical disabilities.

[A novel multimodal interface for improving visually impaired people’s web accessibility]

  • Author: Yu, Wai, Kuber, Ravi, Murphy, Emma, Strain, Philip and McAllister, Graham
  • Year: 2006
  • Journal: Virtual Reality, Volume: 9, Issue: 2, Pages: 133-148
  • ISSN: 1359-4338
  • DOI: 10.1007/s10055-005-0009-z

Abstract: This paper introduces a novel interface designed to help blind and visually impaired people to explore and navigate on the Web. In contrast to traditionally used assistive tools, such as screen readers and magnifiers, the new interface employs a combination of both audio and haptic features to provide spatial and navigational information to users. The haptic features are presented via a low-cost force feedback mouse allowing blind people to interact with the Web, in a similar fashion to their sighted counterparts. The audio provides navigational and textual information through the use of non-speech sounds and synthesised speech. Interacting with the multimodal interface offers a novel experience to target users, especially to those with total blindness.

A series of experiments have been conducted to ascertain the usability of the interface and compare its performance to that of a traditional screen reader. Results have shown the advantages that the new multimodal interface offers blind and visually impaired people. This includes the enhanced perception of the spatial layout of Web pages, and navigation towards elements on a page. Certain issues regarding the design of the haptic and audio features raised in the evaluation are discussed and presented in terms of recommendations for future work.

[User interface design for visually impaired children]

  • Author: Sik Lányi, C., Mátrai, R., Molnár, G. and Lányi, Z.
  • Year: 2005
  • Journal: e&i Elektrotechnik und Informationstechnik, Volume: 122, Issue: 12, Pages: 488-494
  • ISSN: 0932-383X
  • DOI: 10.1007/BF03054386

Abstract: The paper first summarizes questions related to partial sightedness, followed by the description of programs written in Macromedia Director 8.5. Three game programs are described that can be used to develop the sight of visually impaired children. The main part of the paper describes a program, which was developed in the framework of ICT, where teachers can upload their materials to the server in a suitable form for normal vision and students can use them according to their special needs. Thus, each student can change the size of the letters, the colour of the letters and of the background, etc. This is a good help for visually impaired children to increase their communication and learning possibilities.

[Emerging Technologies and Cognitive Disability]

  • Author: Braddock, David, Rizzolo, Mary, Thompson, Micah and Bell, Rodney
  • Year: 2004
  • Journal: Journal of Special Education Technology, Volume: 19, Issue: 4, Pages: 49-56
  • ISSN: 01626434
  • DOI: 10.1177/016264340401900406

Abstract: Braddock et al observe that despite the potential of emerging technologies to assist persons with cognitive disabilities, significant practical impediments remain to be overcome in commercialization, consumer abandonment, and in the design and development of useful products. They suggest, among other things, that innovative engineering approaches and effective needs analysis are essential to ensure that technically feasible products meet the real needs of persons with cognitive disabilities.

[Streams, structures, spaces, scenarios, and societies (5S): A formal digital library framework and its applications]

  • Author: Goncalves, Marcos, Fox, Edward A.
  • Year: 2004
  • Publisher: ProQuest Dissertations Publishing

Abstract: Digital libraries (DLs) are complex information systems and therefore demand formal foundations lest development efforts diverge and interoperability suffers. In this dissertation, we propose the fundamental abstractions of Streams, Structures, Spaces, Scenarios, and Societies (5S), which allow us to define digital libraries rigorously and usefully. Streams are sequences of arbitrary items used to describe both static and dynamic (e.g., video) content. Structures can be viewed as labeled directed graphs, which impose organization. Spaces are sets with operations that obey certain constraints. Scenarios consist of sequences of events or actions that modify states of a computation in order to accomplish a functional requirement.

Societies are sets of entities and activities, and the relationships among them. Together these abstractions provide a formal foundation to define, relate, and unify concepts—among others, of digital objects, metadata, collections, and services—required to formalize and elucidate “digital libraries”. A digital library theory based on 5S is defined by proposing a formal ontology that defines the fundamental concepts, relationships, and axiomatic rules that govern the DL domain. The ontology is an axiomatic, formal treatment of DLs, which distinguishes it from other approaches that informally define a number of architectural invariants.

The applicability, versatility, and unifying power of the 5S theory are demonstrated through its use in a number of distinct applications including: (1) building and interpreting a DL taxonomy, (2) informal and formal analysis of case studies of digital libraries (NDLTD and OAI), (3) utilization as a formal basis for a DL description language, digital library visualization and generation tools, and a log format specific for DLs, and (4) defining a quality model for DLs.

[The Use of Virtual Reality to Assess and Predict Real-world Executive Dysfunction: Can VR Help for Work-placement Rehabilitation?]

  • Author: Jansari, Ashok, Agnew, Robert, Akesson, Katarina and Murphy, Lesley
  • Year: 2004
  • Journal: Brain Impairment, Volume: 5, Issue: 1, Pages: 110
  • ISSN: 1443-9646

[Justification of the need for an ontology for accessibility requirements (Theoretic framework)]

  • Author: Masuwa-Morgan, K. R. and Burrell, P.
  • Year: 2004
  • Journal: Interacting with Computers, Volume: 16, Issue: 3, Pages: 523-555
  • ISSN: 0953-5438
  • DOI: 10.1016/j.intcom.2004.04.001

Abstract: The aim of this paper is to make a case generally for an ontology for accessibility requirements specification. Requirements specification is generally intended to provide clear, testable descriptions of what a system should do. What an ontology would do is to act like a requirements bank that provides methodology independent accessibility requirements that could then be used to extrapolate, on demand, conceptual models for a variety of implementations driven by a variety of methodologies. The effect of this would be to minimise requirements specification, ensure declarativity, standardisation, interoperability and reusability, whilst at the same time lending greater migratability from specification to design. There has been much worldwide action in developing guidelines, tools and methods in an attempt to ensure that technologies and information systems are accessible. There is, however, a growing need to partner these initiatives more closely with software engineering traditions. An ontology for accessibility requirements would provide formal semantic specifications beyond the syntactic provisions rendered by commonly used formal specification languages.

[Minority -oriented text -based community life on the Internet: A case study on the role of computer networking in fostering the welfare of young adults with visual disabilities in the early years of Web development]

  • Author: Luengo-Filgueiras, Montserrat, Perrolle, Judith A.
  • Year: 2001
  • Publisher: ProQuest Dissertations Publishing

Abstract: This study makes use of a popular text-based forum on the Internet, that of discussion mailing lists, and presents a framework of virtual life aimed at identifying and analyzing the online experiences of young disabled networkers. Building on the social network approach inspired by Mark Granovetter's work on the significant role of “weak ties” on successful job searches, I make use of the electronic archives of an online disability-oriented group over a period of thirty-six months to examine whether and how the career and labor market outcomes of young visually impaired adults who are in the process of finishing their mainstreamed postsecondary education and striving to make a successful school-to-work transition are affected by being weakly electronically tied to others in the same circumstances.

I argue that the growing political support and legal enforcement of inclusive learning policies over recent years may have contributed to increase the isolation of disabled youth from community referents, and therefore decrease their social resource networks and coping capabilities for dealing with society's negative reactions to disability, and for developing successful learning and job-search strategies. Findings show that information and communications technologies help counteract such an undesirable effect of mainstreaming by expanding the means and opportunities for contact, and facilitating a mutual accommodation process to mainstream life among disabled peers, who thereby have access to news and social resources, especially information and social support, beyond those available in their predominantly non-disabled real-life social networks.

The results suggest that measures that increase access to information and communication technologies among this population subgroup will have positive effects on their social and economic prospects. This should be of interest to various research and policy communities, including school administrators, policymakers responsible for promoting the welfare of people with disabilities, and website developers with a concern for user-friendly web design for all users.

[Personalised hypermedia presentation techniques for improving online customer relationships]

  • Author: Kobsa, Alfred, Koenemann, Jrgen and Pohl, Wolfgang
  • Year: 2001
  • Journal: Knowl. Eng. Rev., Volume: 16, Issue: 2, Pages: 111-155
  • ISSN: 0269-8889
  • DOI: 10.1017/S0269888901000108

Abstract: This article gives a comprehensive overview of techniques for personalised hypermedia presentation. It describes the data about the computer user, the computer usage and the physical environment that can be taken into account when adapting hypermedia pages to the needs of the current user. Methods for acquiring these data, for representing them as models in formal systems and for making generalisations and predictions about the user based thereon are discussed. Different types of hypermedia adaptation to the individual users needs are distinguished and recommendations for further research and applications given. While the focus of the article is on hypermedia adaptation for improving customer relationship management utilising the World Wide Web, many of the techniques and distinctions also apply to other types of personalised hypermedia applications within and outside the World Wide Web, like adaptive educational systems.

[The Applicability of the Ada to Private Internet Web Sites]

  • Author: Carrie L, Kiedrowski
  • Year: 2001
  • Journal: Cleveland State Law Review, Volume: 49, Pages: 719-749
  • ISSN: 0009-8876

Abstract: ... "For many of the one out of five people in the United States who are disabled ... the ... Internet can be more akin to crawling." ... In a world where presentation and vanity are everything, who should be required to change -- the Internet site or the person using it? According to Adam Weinroth, a web developer who won first place in a contest for having an accessible web site, "When the issue of accessibility comes up, that's not the No. 1 priority. ... Despite the lack of case law directly on point, recent federal technology regulations mandating accessible government web sites suggest that the law is moving towards characterizing web sites as places of public accommodation. ... Specifically, Title III of the ADA prohibits operators of places of public accommodation from discriminating against a person based on a disability in the "full and equal enjoyment of goods and services." ... The NFB's complaint stated that the Internet is a place of public accommodation, and therefore, AOL must make its site and services accessible to people with disabilities. ... held that the "plain language of Title III covers [the plaintiff's] claim because its scope is not limited to the mere denial of physical access to places of public accommodation."

[Cartographic iconography and the Internet: A study of the use of colour in icon design]

  • Author: Muller, Anita, Taylor, D. R. Fraser
  • Year: 2001
  • Publisher: ProQuest Dissertations Publishing

Abstract: Rapid development of the World Wide Web has facilitated response to the demand for geospatial information. As a result, a number of cartographic products and tools are becoming available through the Internet. These are becoming increasingly complex in terms of both their information content and representation, but the accessibility, efficiency, and effectiveness of these products strongly rely on graphical user interfaces (GUI). The research presented in this thesis deals with cartographic iconography for Web-based cartographic products. Based on cartographic and graphic design theories, the study identifies important issues associated with a particular aspect of interfaces, that is the design of icons, and concentrates specifically on the use of colour in an Internet environment. The main objective of the research is to develop guidelines and make recommendations for the use of colour in design and standardization of icons used in Web based cartography, while presenting theoretical reasoning, applications, and graphical examples.

[Wayfinding in real and virtual domains: Continuity and experience]

  • Author: Welty, Brent, Gianni, Benjamin
  • Year: 2001
  • Publisher: ProQuest Dissertations Publishing

Abstract: This thesis explores the relationship between wayfinding in physical (real) environments and electronic (virtual) environments. In particular, it looks at a class of websites that model the real world in order to introduce users to it and enhance their understanding of it through technology-mediated means. A theme is established for a waymaking (virtual) model that suggests that the virtual experience of a physical place need neither be a substitution to that space, but that the virtual model is an actual continuity of the experience of the physical environment. Continuity is established when both the real and virtual environments appeal to the same cognitive map, where the real and virtual experiences overlap in the user's memory and image of the environment. This is to benefit wayfinders by giving them “a priori” knowledge to develop a detailed decision plan, linking the delivery of the decision plan with the dynamic nature of web-based media, aiding in future design of spatial information systems in both real and virtual domains.

[Geospatial Information Visualization User Interface Issues]

  • Author: Wood, Jo
  • Year: 2001
  • Journal: Cartography and Geographic Information Science, Volume: 28, Issue: 1, Pages: 45-60
  • ISSN: 1523-0406
  • DOI: 10.1559/152304001782173961

[Virtual Web Wave of the Future: Integration of Healthcare Systems on the Internet]

  • Author: Barbara, J. Williams
  • Year: 2000
  • Journal: North Dakota Law Review, Volume: 76, Pages: 365-977

Abstract: In comparison with banks, which spend seven percent of their annual revenues on information systems, the healthcare industry spends only one to two percent for this purpose. WebMD Practice also provides dictation and transcription services over the Internet for the provider to update a patient's medical record. These Provisions propose uniform standards for electronic exchange of health information in administrative and financial transactions, and data elements for such transactions.Additionally, the Provisions contain sections relating to privacy of healthcare information.

The goal of the HIPAA mandated Department of Health and Human Services proposed regulation Provisions is to encourage increased and proper use of electronic information while at the same time protecting the needs of patients to safeguard their privacy. However, in addition, the proposed NAIC regulations contain provisions for disclosure of protected health information without authorization similar to the provision found in either the NAIC Health Information Privacy Model Act or the Department of Health and Human Services regulation.

In such case, healthcare providers must draft contract language with any entity providing healthcare information systems to provide specific limitations on disclosure of identifiable health information and impose security, inspection and reporting requirements for the electronic software providers. In addition, a healthcare provider, small or large, should have in place a privacy policy appropriate to its size, information practices and its business requirements.

[Consensus and the Web]

  • Author: Rada, Roy, Cargill, Carl and Klensin, John
  • Year: 1998
  • Journal: Communications of the ACM, Volume: 41, Issue: 7, Pages: 17-22
  • ISSN: 0001-0782
  • DOI: 10.1145/278476.278481

[Human media technology-the human-centered, sustainable technology development]

  • Author: Encarnacao, J. L., Loseries, F. and Sifaqui, C.
  • Year: 1998

Pages: 132-140

Abstract: The development of the Internet, the Web, and Java let us believe that computing technology seems to become an integral part of our daily environment that hopefully supports us in improving the quality of life. But what does this mean to the future of information technology development? This paper presents visions towards sustainable, human-centered technology developments. New trends in human computer interaction and human information interaction are necessary for enabling even the naive user to communicate and interact with computers. What we need is a paradigm shift from the conventional information technology towards a human media technology which focus on the interaction manner between human beings and information space or amongst human beings through information space.

[The potentials of virtual environments in the education and training of people with learning disabilities]

  • Authors: Cromby, J. J., Standen, P. J., & Brown, D. J.
  • Year: 1996
  • Publication: Journal of Intellectual Disability Research, 40(6), 489-501
  • Full text: tba
  • Keywords: tba

Abstract: tba

[Virtual World Accessibility: Directions for Research]

  • Authors: Folmer, E.
  • Year: tba
  • Publication: Player-Game Interaction Lab, Department of Computer Science and Engineering, University of Nevada, Reno, Reno, NV
  • Full text: tba
  • Keywords: tba

Abstract: tba