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Method and application for switching between documents in a voice browser Disclosure Number: IPCOM000216424D
Publication Date: 2012-Apr-05
Document File: 2 page(s) / 46K

Publishing Venue

The Prior Art Database


This article describes a method by which non-sighted browser users can navigate using tabs with the help of 3D audio acting as a memory aid. Tabs are laid out in 3D aural space thus allowing users to easily distinguish between them.

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Method and application for switching between documents in a voice browser

Voice / audio web browsers typically do not implement an equivalent to the "tabs" found in visual browsers. It is difficult for users to keep track of which "tabs" they have open without a visual representation, since they have to cycle through them audibly or remember them. This effectively forces them to use a "single-stream" method of web browsing - eg. searching for something on the internet, selecting one result, listening to it to find out whether the resource is the "answer" that was wanted, going back to the search results, selecting the next, and so on.

    A known solution that blind people use is to open webpages in different browser windows and switch manually using the operating system. However, with a large number of windows they cannot necessarily keep track of which pages are open in which windows and will often give up in frustration (with no context available to distinguish where they are).

    The solution herein introduces a novel way of presenting multiple audio "tabs" to the user in a way that makes it easier to remember them all and instantly access any one without having to cycle through a list.

    The solution uses 3D sound to give a positional or directional context for tabs. The current web content (the single page that the user is currently listening to) is positioned in front of the user, directly forwards in 3D audio space. Other tabs (individual web pages that the user has open but is not listening to) are associated with a peripheral location, e.g. top left, bottom right.

    This means that when a tab is made inactive (by switching to another tab) the audio rendering of it stops, but not before an aural cue indicates where in 3D audio space the tab is now "located". This helps users form a strong association between the content of a tab and its position/direction in 3D audio space, which allows them to quickly re-establish the context of content and remember the different tabs that they have open.

    The advantages...