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Proceedings of the 4th ERCIM Workshop on 'User Interfaces for All'

Fullname:Proceedings of the 4th ERCIM Workshop on 'User Interfaces for All'
Note:Towards an Accessible Web
Editors:Constantine Stephanidis; Annika Wærn
Location:Stockholm, Sweden
Dates:1998-Oct-19 to 1998-Oct-21
Publisher:ERCIM
Standard No:hcibib: UI4ALL98
Papers:19
Links:Call for Papers and Participation | Final Programme | Proceedings
  1. Invited Talks
  2. Long Papers: Design Methodology for Universal Access
  3. Long Papers: Extending the Browser Metaphor
  4. Long Papers: WWW Browsers for All
  5. Long Papers: Design Principles and Guidelines
  6. Short Papers: Adaptivity and Adaptiveness
  7. Short Papers: Design Methodology for Universal Access
  8. Position Papers: Information Filtering and Presentation
  9. Position Papers: Design Methodology for Universal Access
  10. Poster Presentations
"Foreword" BIBPDF 1
  Constantine Stephanidis; Annika Wærn

Invited Talks

About the W3C Web Accessibility Initiative BIBAPDF 1
  Daniel Dardailler
The World Wide Web is fast becoming a de facto standard for communicating information on-line, yet this technology has inadvertently created barriers for people with disabilities: "new" Web content is not just text and freely combines graphics, audio, and video, severely limiting efficient communication for users with no visual or hearing capabilities for instance.
   As the the Web rapidly displaces existing media, there is an increasing social expectation for its accessibility and also a growing trend to require this accessibility; this, combined with the realization of the benefits that a Universal Design approach will bring to the Web at large (telephone users for instance, with no screen access), has led the W3C to take on a new leadership role and launch in 1997 the Web Accessibility Initiative (WAI) program.
   The World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) coordinates the evolution of the Web core protocol (such as HTML, CSS, PICS, HTTP, etc) and has a mission to "lead the Web to its full potential". It was therefore uniquely suited to host this accessibility effort.
   The W3C Web Accessibility Initiative is pursuing accessibility of the Web through five primary areas of work:
  • 1. Technology reviews and development. Centered on protocols and data formats,
        especially HTML, CSS, XML, SMIL, DOM.
  • 2. Guidelines for use of the technology. Targeted at User Agent and Authoring
        tool developers, and Page Authors.
  • 3. Education&Outreach. Raising the awareness of the content creation
        community to the Accessible Design "philosophy".
  • 4. Tools for evaluation and repair of Web Pages.
  • 5. Research and advanced development.
  • Information Technology and Disabilities Access -- The Black Hole of Human Centered Design BIBAPDF 1
      Mike Paciello
    Information Technology is the backbone of the new millennium. Next generation interfaces, new digital media, emerging telecommunications technology and high-performance, advanced information systems comprise the new global information infrastructure. At the core of this technology is the human factor -- how people use information, why, when and where. The importance of human centered design has never been as critical -- particularly when it lacks the essence of sensory design: designing for people with disabilities.
       This talk describes the current state of IT and access for people with disabilities. It suggests that the strategy for the future state requires a new direction and proposes a creative, international initiative.

    Long Papers: Design Methodology for Universal Access

    Developing a Methodology for the Design of Accessible Interfaces BIBAPDF 15
      S. Keates; P. J. Clarkson; P. Robinson
    Users with a number of different motion impairment conditions cannot cope with most current computer access systems. Such conditions include athetoid, ataxic and spastic Cerebral Palsy, Muscular Dystrophy, Friedrich's Ataxia, tetraplegia and spinal injuries or disorder. Frequent symptoms include tremor, spasm, poor co-ordination, restricted movement, and reduced muscle strength. Similar symptoms are also seen amongst the elderly able-bodied population from conditions such as Parkinson's Disease, strokes and arthritis.
       The primary aim of the programme of research at the University of Cambridge is to enable the design of accessible input systems and interfaces for all motion-impaired users, both elderly and disabled.
       Current interface design practices are based on user models and descriptions derived exclusively from studies of able-bodied users. However, such users are only one point on a wide and varied scale of physical capabilities. This paper will show that there are very important differences between those with motion-impairments, whether elderly or disabled, and able-bodied users when they interact with computers. Without a proper understanding of those differences, interface design will remain an exercise in making the interfaces more comfortable for the motion-impaired users, rather than really usable.
       This paper describes our experiments to understand how motion-impaired users interact with computers and how we are using this information to develop a methodology for the design of accessible interfaces.

    Long Papers: Extending the Browser Metaphor

    The UbicompBrowser BIBAPDF 12
      Michael Beigl; Albrecht Schmidt; Markus Lauff; Hans-Werner Gellersen
    In this paper we introduce the UbicompBrowser, a system that applies ubiquitous computing to the World-Wide Web. The UbicompBrowser extends the World-Wide Web in two ways into our everyday environments. First, it extends the browser concept by replacing the standard web user interface with a handheld access and control device and surrounding output devices. This ubiquitous user interface is determined dynamically based on the location of the handheld control. Secondly, the UbicompBrowser system extends the web concept of uniform access to resources by applying the same access method, uniform resource identifiers, to environment-specific resources, for example for access to the TV channels available on a TV set, and for access to light switches. In summary, the UbicompBrowser improves web accessibility by realizing a ubiquitous environment-based user interface, and by extending accessibility to environment-specific resources. The approach constitutes a user interface for all flexibly adapted to their environment, interfacing both global resources in the web and local resources in a given user environment.
    Link Lens: An Enhanced Link User Interface for Web Browsers BIBAPDF 15
      Dominic Stanyer; Rob Procter
    A number of factors may influence Web users' choice of which links to follow. These include assumptions about document quality and anticipated retrieval times. The present generation of World Wide Web browsers, however, provide only minimal support to assist users in making informed decisions. Web browser `link user interfaces' typically only display a document's Universal Resource Identifier (URL), whilst a simple binary colour change in the URL's anchor is used to indicate its activation history. The question then is, how do users deal with the problem of having to make such decisions when the information at hand is insufficient? We have been conducting an investigation of how users make link selections. The results show users often are forced to fall back on heuristics and improvising strategies drawn from past experience. Based upon these results, we present a prototype of the `link lens', an enhanced link designed to make such decisions easier and more productive for all users and help less experienced ones gain a better understanding of Web behaviour.

    Long Papers: WWW Browsers for All

    Self-Adapting Web-based Systems: Towards Universal Accessibility BIBAKPDF 17
      C. Stephanidis; A. Paramythis; D. Akoumianakis; M. Sfyrakis
    This paper discusses the employment of self-adaptation techniques in WWW-based interactive systems, as a tool for ensuring their universal accessibility. The paper first elaborates on the underpinnings of universal accessibility and their relevance to Web applications and services. Then it provides a contextual definition of self-adapting systems and an account of how self-adaptation relates to accessibility. Subsequently, different adaptation approaches that may be employed on the Web are presented, as well as their potential correlation to accessibility solutions. Finally, the application of some of the proposed approaches in the development of Web-based information systems is presented.
    Keywords: Universal accessibility, Self-adaptation, Adaptability, Adaptivity, WWW
    WebAdapter: A Prototype of a WWW-Browser with New Special Needs Adaptations BIBAPDF 15
      Dirk Hermsdorf; Henrike Gappa; Michael Pieper
    This paper presents a prototypical WWW (World Wide Web)-browser called "WebAdapter", which provides new special needs adaptations for physically handicapped, blind and visually impaired end-users. These adaptations include near miss tolerances, implementation of sophisticated HTML-guidelines and advanced speech output. For evaluation purposes a usability test was conducted proving the suitability of the implemented special needs adaptations. The future goal of this work is a user interface for all (UI4All) for a standard Webbrowser. With regard to this perspective, the WebAdapter is still an reactive approach in that it only reacts to shortcomings of common Webbrowsers instead of proactively integrating a standardized software layer between the user front-end and underlying applications by which the I/O-Interface can easily and universally be adapted to a variety of different personal needs of handicapped as well as able-bodied end-users. Thus, the WebAdapter only illustrates some new special needs adaptations which may be included into future versions of common WWW-browsers in order to move another step towards a UI4All. Further inevitable improvements of the user interface of WWW-browsers for disabled and elderly people beyond the scope of this project are discussed as well.

    Long Papers: Design Principles and Guidelines

    Towards a Corpus of Validated Web Design Guidelines BIBAPDF 16
      J. Vanderdonckt
    Numerous guidelines are available to support designing accessible and usable web sites. However, most of these guidelines come from multiple guidelines sources with various trust levels so that their application does not guarantee any improvement of neither the accessibility nor the usability of web sites. A corpus of validated web design guidelines is therefore expected to insure such an improvement. To reach a corpus of guidelines designers can trust in, five steps were performed: firstly, guidelines sources were categorised according to a source model; secondly, the most representative and interesting guidelines sources were selected on a basis of selection parameters; thirdly, guidelines belonging to these selected sources were categorised in turn according to a general purpose guideline model and subsequently gathered to form an initial corpus of guidelines; fourthly, particular guidelines were selected by properties to be subject to a dedicated validation; fifthly, these guidelines were empirically validated by analysing the user satisfaction score. A first corpus of validated web design guidelines was consequently divided into three parts: text-only sites, graphical sites, and framed sites. This corpus is itself transformed in a web site with a design relying on its own contents.
    Universal Accessibility in HCI: Process-Oriented Design Guidelines and Tool Requirements BIBAPDF 15
      C. Stephanidis; D. Akoumianakis; M. Sfyrakis; A. Paramythis
    This paper presents a preliminary collection of design-oriented guidelines and development requirements for accessibility and universal design in HCI. The process-oriented guidelines aim to shed light into how a user-centred design process can be conducted, so as to account for the needs and requirements of the broadest possible end user population, including people with disabilities. These guidelines are subsequently translated into key development requirements which should be preserved in user interface development tools in order for them to provide the required support for building user interface software for different users and contexts of use. To this effect, we provide contextual definitions of key terms of reference and an account of related standards. The proposed material does not intend to cover a particular technology. Instead, it aims to formulate a conceptual framework whereby accessibility becomes an integral component of the user interface development life-cycle.

    Short Papers: Adaptivity and Adaptiveness

    Disconnecting the Application from the Interaction Model BIBAPDF 6
      Ing-Marie Jonsson; Neil Scott; Judy Jackson
    Disconnecting the applications from the interaction model is based on two principles; to enable users to interact with applications according to their needs, abilities and preferences; and to provide access to a standard version of an application instead of relying on various implementations that are adapted to specific terminals and/or interaction models. It should be possible to access an application regardless of choice of terminal, from TVs to telephones. And also to interact with the application using all possible combinations of input and output modalities.
       Based on the assumption that information is neither accessible or inaccessible -- it is the form in which it is presented that makes it one way or the other, the Archimedes project main focus is to provide access to computers for disabled users. Over time we have seen that numerous technologies and solutions developed for disabled users become conveniences for everyone else. This led us to explore how well suited the initial Archimedes approach would be to implement smart offices and smart houses.
    Controlled Language Technology in Multilingual User Interfaces BIBAPDF 6
      A. Lehlota; C. Bounsaythip; J. Tenni
    This paper studies how controlled language (CL) technology can be used to build multilingual user interfaces to information services on the WWW. Controlled languages are domain specific sublanguages that resemble human languages but have limited vocabulary and restricted syntax. Control is used to minimise ambiguities in the texts and enable their automatic processing. For instance, automatic information extraction and machine translation are difficult tasks when dealing with unrestricted natural languages. Language control enables practical and cost-effective solutions to these tasks.
       In our paper we first outline the state of the art in CL technology. After that we consider the use of CL in fully automatic translation of contents of a monolingual text database and in information retrieval from a multilingual information base.
    Towards a Personalised Browser for Elderly Users BIBAPDF 6
      Yuexiao Zhao; Enn Tyugu
    This paper discusses primary design issues of an intelligent browser for senior citizens. This work focuses on the study of intelligent interface agents which adapt to the user according to the interactions between the user and the browser.

    Short Papers: Design Methodology for Universal Access

    Cognitive Accessibility to Information on the Web: Insights from a System for Teaching and Learning Architecture through the Net BIBAPDF 6
      R. Corrao; G. Fulantelli
    The question of accessibility to the Web takes on a special meaning in educational settings where access to information requires cognitive elaboration of the page contents. It is, therefore, a matter of "cognitive access" to the Web. The main efforts of the designers of Web Based Instruction (WBI) environments to encourage cognitive access are usually aimed at the organisation and presentation of Web documents and at specific cues which can improve the user's interaction, orientation and navigation through the pages.
       However, it is possible to improve this high-level access to the information by supporting study activities through specific "Working tools" which can be implemented in the Web environment. In this paper we report on the design solutions we have adopted to provide cognitive access to a WBI environment for university students studying Architecture and Town Planning. In particular, we introduce
       "Working tools" that can be used to support flexible and effective study activities. The adopted design solutions provide different classes of users (not only students) with different access facilities. Finally, it should be noted that the methodologies of the design of WBI systems should deal with this kind of high level access and support it through specific solutions at interface and implementation levels.

    Position Papers: Information Filtering and Presentation

    Towards an Accessible Web by Applying PUSH Technology BIBAPDF 15
      Tuula Kapyla; Isto Niemi; Aarno Lehtola
    Information overload makes it more and more difficult to get the right information at the right time. Nowadays, users get overwhelmed by the massive amount of information available on the Internet. The 'traditional' pull technology model is becoming a limit for more efficient use of the Web. Specifically requesting information from a particular source, e.g. downloading a Web page with a browser is an example of pull technology. As Web grows in size and complexity the importance of new information delivery models such as push technology increases. The push technology was created to alleviate problems facing users of the Internet, e.g. information overload and low bandwidth. The push technology is a data distribution technology in which selected data is automatically delivered into the user's computer at prescribed intervals or based on some event that occurs. The push technology can be used to make information more accessible for the user. By applying the push technology it is possible to design and implement user-friendly and effective information delivery systems. In this paper we first define what the push technology is. We will also describe what the advantages and disadvantages of the push technology are, and how we can utilise it best. This paper also contains a table where basic information about 50 different push tools has been collected.
    A Lightweight Presentation Model for Database User Interfaces BIBAPDF 14
      Phil Gray; Richard Cooper; Jessie Kennedy; Peter Barclay; Tony Griffiths
    The Teallach project is building a system which eases the design and implementation of user interfaces (web-based or otherwise) to object-oriented database applications. Teallach takes a model based approach and is constructing its system around three main models -- a domain model which describes the database structures with which Teallach can cope; a task model, in which the user-involved aspects of the application can be described; and a presentation model. The presentation model is intended to support the storage of user interaction objects, so that these objects can be found, customised and composed into user interfaces suitable for the tasks. In seeking an appropriate presentation model, we have found that previous models are either those underlying toolkits, which are overly concrete and detailed, or are abstract models based entirely around the look of the interaction objects, but not their intended role. We are implementing a model which describes each interaction object in terms of its purpose, the kinds of data with which the user is allowed to interact, constraints on its use, and a description of configurable aspects of the interface in terms of the ways in which they support interaction. This paper describes this model and gives examples of its use.

    Position Papers: Design Methodology for Universal Access

    Focusing on an International R&D Agenda for Universal Accessibility: Reflections from the 2nd ISF workshop BIBAPDF 7
      Pier Luigi Emiliani; Constantine Stephanidis
    This position paper reviews and provides a consolidated account of the results of the second workshop of the International Scientific Forum "Towards an Information Society for All" that took place in Heraklion, Crete, Greece on June 15-16, 1998. Specifically, it examines the developed recommendations for further R&D work, in the light of recent developments and initiatives related to universal access to today's and tomorrow's applications and services.
    Design Principles for Social Navigation Tools BIBAPDF 13
      Mattias Forsberg; Kristina Höök; Martin Svensson
    Social navigation is an alternative to the prevailing methods for navigating metaphors. It utilises the fact that most information navigation in the real world is performed by interaction with other people. Based on literature studies and user studies on social navigation we have developed six principles that have to be taken into consideration when designing systems for social navigation in order to make the navigational experience more efficient, qualitative and enjoyable. The principles are Integration, Trust, Presence, Privacy, Appropriateness and Personalization.

    Poster Presentations

    Design of a User Interface for Searching Documents Indexed with Controlled Terms BIBAPDF 2
      R. E. de Vries; N. J. I. Mars
    Though information systems using controlled language for indexing and searching (classification systems, subject headings and thesauri) have a longer tradition, many retrieval systems today are based on free-text searching: the natural language of words in titles, abstracts or the full text of documents. Both research and common experience have by now identified the relative weaknesses and strengths of these two approaches. For example from a summary given by Aitchison et al.: for controlled language "an artificial language has to be learned by a searcher, [but] the burden of searching is eased [because it] controls synonyms [..] and leads [from] specific natural language concepts to the nearest preferred terms [..] [and] avoids precision loss through over-exhaustivity" whereas for natural language "words and phrases used by searcher are [his own], [but] the intellectual effort is placed on searcher [and] exhaustivity may lead to loss of precision".