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System and method of enabling web accessibility

IP.com Disclosure Number: IPCOM000198306D
Publication Date: 2010-Aug-04
Document File: 7 page(s) / 133K

Publishing Venue

The IP.com Prior Art Database

Abstract

Nowadays more and more disabled people begin to surf on the internet. They usually use screen readers to read the text content of the websites. Currently in order for the disabled people to view the contents within a web page, developers add text alternative in the web page for all non-text web contents. For example, there are four pictures and flash in the web page. The developer needs to provide text alternative for each picture and flash. Screen reader can read the text part of the web page directly. When it meets non-text part, it can read the text alternative instead. Some companies provide a better solution. They will do some special processing for the web pages, such as replacing some contents with the others based on some rules or other techniques. Then they send the decorated web pages to screen reader. It can improve the friendliness of the surfing experience. However, these solutions need application owners to process contents for disabled people. It's not flexible and probably brings lots of development cost. And they may not understand so much about the needs of the disabled too. In some cases, guardians of disabled people know their specific needs clearly and they want to improve the accessibility for the disabled people by themselves. Besides, volunteers who care about disabled people always exist among the huge number of web visitors and they wish to take some efforts to help the disabled. In this invention, a method and system is proposed to build the mechanics for people to provide readable information for special web pages which are accessible to disabled people. With the deployment of the system, people can easily provide useful readable information to help disabled people to surf on the internet.

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System and method of enabling web accessibility


This document discloses a method and system of enabling high quality accessibility of web application by leveraging the collective contribution.

The method includes the following three steps:

The visitors of the web site create or update accessibility information through a particularly designed accessibility editor.

The accessibility information is sent to a central server to be stored and processed.

When a disabled person visits the page, its related accessibility information could be retrieved concurrently and be fed to the screen reader to be played.

This invention introduces a new approach to provide accessibility capability of web application and has the two major advantages in improving user experiences.

The accessibility information is created and maintained separately from the web application itself, which allows accessibility enhancement without changing the existing code.

Large number of end users can participate in the contribution, which results in more user-friendly, consumable accessibility information.

System overview

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Fig. 3.1 System overview

Information edit component


Users can re-define the user interface of an application by the information edit component (101). Firstly, users can find the

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[This page contains 1 picture or other non-text object]

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accessibility violations on the web page by some tools or manually. Then user can decide to add information to which UI element. Information edit component (101) mainly has three steps to add information to UI elements:

Locate the UI element

  
Edit the content in specific editor
Store the information script to information server
There are many ways to locate an element in web page, such as XPath, relational position, text and so on. Information edit component (101) uses XPath to represent the element on web pages. For example, if we have a HTML fragment like this,

…..
….
third

We can use the attributes of elements (e.g. ID and name) and their hierarchy in the DOM tree to build an XPath. The three DIV elements can be expressed as:
HTML/BODY/DIV[@ID="first"]

HTML/BODY/DIV[@name="second"]

HTML/BODY/DIV#2; (The third DIV under BODY element)

Information edit component (101) also has an editor to edit the UI element. Users can add text, sound and UI effect to the element. Since many people will add content to the same page or the same element. The component divides the information into different categories, such as blindness, color blindness, deafness and so on. And each category has one version of such information.

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Fig 3.2 the information editor

Fig 3.2 shows the mock UI of the editor, in the editor users can add text for an image in the page and add background music f...