2004 Conference Proceedings

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Shinichi Torihara
The Graduate School of Media and Governance
Keio University
Tokyo Research Laboratory, IBM Japan Ltd.
Email: shinichi@adaptive-techs.com

There are many blind people who want to listen to the Web pages like a portable FM radio in the terms of its ease of use and portability. In this paper, we would like to introduce "Ubiquitous Radio"[1], an application of Web Page Reader(WPR) on the PDA with a wireless network, would make it possible for us to download the simplified HTML documents through the Internet Agent Server, and to listen to the contents by a built-in Text-to-Speech(TTS) engine anywhere and anytime. This ubiquitous radio would also be very useful for people in general as well as people with vision impairment.

Problems on Reading Web Pages
We, the blind, have several diffculities in reading(listening to) the Web pages by using screen readers and the Internet speech browsers like IBM Home Page Reader(HPR).

(1) Operational Complexity
We cannot read(listen to) the Web pages without learning how to operate the Microsoft Windows, JAWS(screen reader) and Microsoft Internet Exploror(IE), and even IBM HPR.

(2) Complexity in HTML documents
The documents of HTML(Hyper Text Markup Language) are extremely complex in reading them by Auditory User Interface(AUI). It takes much time to obtain the useful information. The following figure is a page of ABC News Web site. The page consists of seven parts such as banners, menus, links and so on. Among the seven parts, the actual news column is located in the sixth part.

(3) Locational Limitations
It is very troublesome to bring a lap-top PC outside and setup the Internet environment.

"Ubiquitous Radio"
We would like to show "Ubiquitous Radio", a PDA based application with a wireless network(telephone line or LAN) of Web Page Reader(WPR) for the blind and visually impaired. This ubiquitous system has the following advantages.

(1) Radio-Like Simple User Interface
Four arrow keys, ENTER and CANCEL would enbale us to listen to the Web pages very easily.

(2) Simplification of HTML documents
By selecting "Download" from the menu, the simplified HTML documents will be received from Agent Server on the Internet through the wireless network.

(3) Ubiquity
This PDA system is portable so that we can read(listen to) the up-dated contents of the Web pages wherever and whenever you want.

We are in research for barrier-free and ubiquitous Web Page Reader for the blind and visually impaired. If these systems are accepted by people with vision impairment, these would be easily operational and useful for people in general from the viewpoints of "Universal Design."


[1] http://www.u-radio.jp/

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