Ubiquitous and Universal Web Access with Capti
Applications of technology to the needs of people with disabilities
We will report on the progress made by Charmtech Labs LLC toward enabling more intuitive and usable web access with “Capti” – a universally and ubiquitously accessible web browsing application. We will present the results of our experiments and user studies, discuss technical and scientific challenges, and outline future work.
The Web plays an important role in our lives and has become a vital infrastructure for participating in society. One of the primary uses of the Web is to obtain and exchange information. A recent report by Internet World Stats shows that the Internet usage has skyrocketed by more than 444% since 2000, and reached over a third of the global population in 2010 (almost 2 billion people). However, compared to sighted people, people with vision impairments (approximately 175 million according to the WHO) have significant limitations in how and where they can access the Web.
Blind people usually employ screen readers, which convert the Web to speech and generally ignore page layout and graphics, reading all the textual content in web pages out loud. These tools enable blind people to interact with web pages and perform basic online activities; however, while sighted people can quickly find the information they need on any computer or mobile device, people with vision impairments cannot easily locate information in web pages or switch between different devices. As a result, blind people spend considerably more time looking for information, and, at the same time have a limited “informational mobility” in that they cannot easily switch between devices.
In this talk, we will report on the progress made by Charmtech Labs LLC toward solving these problems with “Capti” – a cross-platform web browsing application that already runs on Windows, Mac, Linux, and iOS, and will, in time, be made available on other platforms. The unique benefit provided by Capti is making web browsing more intuitive and usable for people both with and without vision impairments. Capti can be used to listen to news, blogs, online books, encyclopedias, and other web pages with the convenience of an audio player on the go or while relaxing – skipping all the clutter and helping users find and focus on the information.
Capti integrates with existing web browsers, turning them into self-voicing applications. Among other features, it enables users to add web pages to Capti's playlist that is synchronized across devices, so that a playlist built on a desktop computer can be listened to on the iPhone/iPod, and then continued from the same place on the laptop or even the plain telephone. Capti uses intelligent algorithms to extract main content from web pages and identify articles that span multiple web pages. In addition, Capti enables users to share playlist items with other people.Capti has been developed under a grant from the Department of Education, the NIDRR grant number H133S110028: Ubiquitous Web Access for People with Visual Impairments. However, the contents do not represent the policy of the Department of Education, and you should not assume the endorsement by the Federal Government.