While navigation within complex information spaces is a problem for all users, the problem is most evident with individuals who are blind who cannot simply locate, point, and click on a link in hypertext documents with a mouse. Users who are blind have to listen searching for the link in the document using only the keyboard and a screen reader program, which may be particularly inefficient in large documents with many links or deep hierarchies that are hard to navigate. Consequently, they are especially penalized when the information being searched is hidden under multiple layers of indirections. In this article, we introduce a segment-enrich-annotate (SEA) paradigm for adapting digital content with deep structures for improved accessibility. In particular, we instantiate and evaluate this paradigm through the iCare-Assistant, an assistive system for helping students who are blind in accessing Web and electronic course materials. Our evaluations, involving the participation of students who are blind, showed that the iCare-Assistant system, built based on the SEA paradigm, reduces the navigational overhead significantly and enables user who are blind access complex online course servers effectively.
- Assistive technology for blind users
- Educational discussion boards and Web sites
- Web navigational aids
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Information Systems
- General Business, Management and Accounting
- Computer Science Applications