1999 Conference Proceedings

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The Non-Visual web: Information Surfing with pwWebSpeak

Markku Hakkinen & John De Witt

Developments in non-visual, self-voicing software applications continues, making web surfing easier for visually and print disabled users. Rather than focusing on mastery of screen readers, graphical user interfaces, and visually oriented web browsers, alternatives that provide efficient access to web content are now available. pwWebSpeak provides an alternative, easy to master on-ramp to the internet’s world wide web, designed from the ground up to be accessible to users with a visual disability or others who prefer uncomplicated, yet efficient access. New developments extend the power of non-visual access to e-mail and to users without PCs, using the telephone. Accessible web multimedia, such as streaming audio and SMIL also be demonstrated.

This session will introduce the concept of non-visual browsing and present the simplified command structure of the browser. After a brief introduction to the keyboard commands, the audience will be able to actually get on line and surf the web. Users will learn how to fill in web-based data entry forms, perform searches using the popular services like InfoSeek and Altavista and send e-email. In addition, a demonstration of web access using the most ubiquitous internet device, the telephone, will be included.

This session is suitable for the computer novice, though a basic familiarity with the computer keyboard is desirable.


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