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NTEVH 98: Telematics in the Education of the Visually Handicapped

Paris june 2-3 1998 on the occasion of AUTONOMIC 98

Proceedings are presented in this table of contents: Each paper is followed by a short abstract if you want to read the full paper or the detailed click on the name of paper.

The Internet, a Way to Prevent Exclusion

Pierre GRIFFON, APAM (France)

The use of internet develops itself and comes into general use. This network becomes more and more accessible to visual deficient people. It then becomes a fantastic tool in fighting against exclusion which blind or poorly-sighted people are often confined in.A few situations, encontered on the network throughout my experience, as a user and later as an initiator and a person in charge of professional sites specialized in the visual deficiency domain, makes it possible to illustrate the originality and interest of this new medium.

The Computer and the Fight for Integration

Sylvie DUCHATEAU (France)

Is the Computer an help for the blind people or will it disturb their life The author is trying to answer to all theses questions. She is talking about her blind's student life, the computer evolution, and the adaptation to this evolution, also problems and solutions which could be find.

Copyright: Preventing a Safeguard from becoming a Barrier

David MANN, RNIB (United Kingdom)

This talk will summarise the findings of an international survey entitled "Copyright law and Rights of Blind People", published by RNIB in October 1997.In particular it shall highlight the application of new legislation in certain countries to electronic media and present instances in which new technology raises new copyright questions. It will also refer to current proposed European Union legislation and campaigning activity.

Making the Web Accessible : the WAI project

Daniel DARDAILLER, INRIA (France)

The World Wide Web is fast becoming the de facto repository of preference for on-line information, yet the technology of the Web has inadvertently created barriers for people with disabilities. The World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) coordinates the evolution of the Web core protocol (HTTP, HTML, CSS, XML, etc) and has a mission to "lead the Web to its full potential". As of 1997, W3C has taken on a new leadership role in removing these accessibility barriers and to that effect, has started the Web Accessibility Initiative (WAI). This paper addresses the issue of accessibility by all potential users to the Web, and outlines current and on-going activities carried out by W3C WAI.

Accessing HTML by blind people

Paolo GRAZIANI,L BURZAGLI, E PALCHETTI CNR (Italy)

The organisation of a newspaper for the blind was the occasion to design a WWW site devoted to the more general problem of accessibility to the information available in the Web by blind persons. In particular, we have considered three different aspects of the accessibility. Firstly, the application of guidelines concerning the correct use of HTML code; secondly, the effective navigation inside the hypertext; thirdly, the distribution of the newspaper in order to ensure that as many blind users as possible can benefit of this service.The paper describes the structure of the electronic daily newspaper, the special tools developed for an effective browsing of articles and other facilities made available for blind users of the service. The project has been supported by the Italian Ministry of University and Scientific and Technological Research.

The SEDODEL Project

Tom WESLEY, Iain MILLNS, Univ. BRADFORD (United-Kingdom)

This paper explains the copyright problem, its affects on the Information Society, and the need for new European copyright legislation. It describes enabling technologies, such as the Standard Generalized Markup Language (SGML), ECMS, and the World Wide Web. It also describes the features of SEDODEL and the needs of SEDODEL users.

Is the Full Potential of the Internet

Soren Holmgren JENSEN, Institute for the Blind (Denmark)

The internet is everything and everything is on the internet - but is it accessible for visually impaired ?Based on my own experience as a visually impaired user of the Internet and based on the experience I have from my work on the Institute for the Blind and Visually impaired in Denmark with courses in the use of the Internet.The author passes on these experience and gives his opinion on how and to what extend visualy impaired persons will be able to use the Internet. The main emphasis is on the use of standard applications comblined with the use of enlargement apllications.

Integration of Gutenberg on Line Books

Franz BURGER, Klaus MIESENBERGER, Gerold WAGNER, Univ. LINZ (Austria)

Visually impaired readers have access to only a small number of literature related to the number of publications available in print. This is due to the limited provision of publications in accessible formats lack of adequate library services for visually impaired readers.In the Austrian workpackage of the TESTLAB project a national union catalogue for accessible literature has been developed. This catalogue allows the integration of on-line literature from the Internet.Consequently, visually impaired readers not only get the bibliographic information of available titles but also have direct access to on-line literature.

Evaluation of Guidelines

Chetz COLWELL, Helen PETRIE, Univ. HERTFORDSHIRE (United Kingdom)

There are a number of elements within Web pages that currently make the World Wide Web difficult for people with disabilities to use, but there are also simple techniques that can be used to improve accessibility. This paper will describe a study which evaluates the Web Page Author Guidelines and Checklist of the Web Accessibility Initiative. These are currently being developed to assist Web page authors in making their pages accessible to people with disabilities. It is often the visual nature of much of the content of the Web that makes access difficult for blind people, and so it is this group that this study focuses on. The study involves both Web page authors and blind people. The three aims of the study are to investigate: (a) whether Web page authors are able to use the Guidelines effectively; (b) whether the Guidelines and Checklist can be used to evaluate the accessibility of existing Web pages and suggest possible improvements; and (c) whether Web pages designed to the Guidelines are accessible to blind people. In order to investigate (a) and (b) two groups of students will use the Guidelines and Checklist to design or evaluate web pages. Blind people will then evaluate the students’ Web pages in order to examine (c).

Audidact:Training Software for Internet

Philippe MABILLEAU, Judith PROULX, Patrick CHASSE, Joëlle CARIGNAN, TECSO (Canada)

TECSO Inc., in collaboration with the American Printing House for the Blind Inc. (APH), is the principal contractor of an applied-research project known as AuDidact. As part of this research, TECSO conceived, developed and evaluated innovative tools to help visually-impaired people browse the Internet and learn to use Windows 95 graphical interfaces.

The feasability of a virtual documentation center

Florence MOREL-LAB, Marc OLLIER, EREADV Villeurbanne (France)

To a visual deficient person, Internet brings the dream of having access to a multitude of documents in permanence and immediately, on a world scale and to be able to exchange with other people of similar interests.However, as many scholar establishments welcoming visually handicpapped students, EREA DV is asking itself how to use in concrete terms these new communication and access to information tools in the settting of our teachings.EREADV has started using Internet on an exploratory basis as soon as 1996 and participates in the BrailleNet project since its start in September 1996.Within the framework of this project, we have notably thought of setting up a lined up communication centre useful to the students and easily accessible.It is the results of this reflection and of this first experimentation that we are revealing here.

Hybrid Book

Paolo GRAZIANI, IROE-CNR (Italy);Andras ARATO Terez VASPORI, LSTR (Hungary)

The European Copernicus DIGIBOOK project has been the first in the world to create the so-called Hybrid Book technique, where structured ASCII text in a modified HTML format is synchronously stored on a CD-ROM with compressed human speech. The HTML source and the human speech records are integrated by means of a pre-compiler and the hypermedia produced with this method can be accessed by means of a special browser. Both the authoring system and the browser were developed in Hungary by the LSTR and utilized in Hungary and in Italy to produce and test some examples of hybrid books. This paper describes these two parallel experiences, summarizes results and conclusions, by outlining possibilities of application of this technique in education.The Italian and Hungarian organizations of blind persons expressed interest in this new form of talking book by taking part in the evaluation phase.

A mailbox for Vissually Impaired Students

Peter RODNEY, Danish Institute for the Blind and Partially Sighted (Denmark)

The paper describes the development of an EU Comenius project. The goal of the project was to give the visually impaired student access to the same possibilities in using e-mail as their fully sighted fellow students have. The paper covers many social and organisational issues on the subject and is of origin not technical presentation. It deals more with the communication and support that are used in the encouragement of the students. The conclusion is that it is not enough to provide the students with the suitable software and technical solutions. There must be a considerably effort on the motivational and pedagogical aspects as well. Furthermore the paper is an invitation to take part in the exchange of e-mail. Young visually impaired students from Europe are invited to join the maillinglist at the listserver.

BrailleSURF : a Non Visual HTML Interface

Djamel HADJADJ, Dominique BURGER, INSERM (France)

An Internet browser, BrailleSurf, was developed to provide an access to HTML pages easier than most of the current access solution for the Internet are. The basic browsing functions have been identified and corresponding interaction methods have been devised to accelerate the reading and navigation process. For each function, optimal combinations of speech, Braille and adapted screen display have been sought among which the user can choose according to his/her own preferences. Tests made in schools and universities with nearly 30 handicapped users clearly demonstrated that this interface can make HTML documents quite accessible after a very short training for non expert users of computers.

Tools for Creating Accessible Web Pages

Helen PETRIE, Chetz COLWELL, Univ. HERTFORDSHIRE (United Kingdom); Filip EVENEPOEL Univ. LEUVEN (Belgium)

The World Wide Web (WWW) currently holds great potential for people with disabilities, particularly visual disabilities, but it also poses many problems of access for them. The potential is that the WWW can give access to enormous amounts of information, without the need to be mediated by time-consuming and expensive processes. This means that disabled people can have direct access to information. However, particularly for people with visual disabilities, the highly visual nature of the WWW poses many problems of access. This paper will discuss the tools available to web authors to assist them in developing web pages which are accessible to everyone. The major tools include: guidelines for web authors on how to produce accessible pages; checklists which allow web authors to check whether their pages meet accessibility criteria; automatic validators, programs which automatically check whether pages meet accessibility criteria; and non-automatic tests which authors themselves can use to assess whether their web pages meet accessibility criteria. In particular we will focus on the Web Page Accessibility Self-Evaluation Test and an evaluation which we have conducted of that test.

The Internet: a pedagogic network on-line

Bachir KERROUMI, CNAM (France)

This paper will discuss the potential of the Internet for the professional training. This presentation ids based on a long experience of the author in running professional training especially designed for adults with a visual handicap.

Interactive analysis of fax documents

Gerhard WEBER, Thorsten PUCK, Univ.HARZ (Germany); Max LANGE, BLISTA BRAILLETEC Gmbh (Germany)

Processing of fax documents is an option of current document reading machines which may introduce the reader with different kind of graphics. Our tests show the erroneous detection of graphical zones by an OCR toolkit. We develop an interactive system to allow the user to mark-up a tactile printed fax document using a pointing device for improving the OCR process and to combine graphics with Braille or moon.

LaBraDoor : LaTeX-to-Braille-Door

Mario BATUSIC, Klaus MIESENBERGER, Bernard STOGER, Univ. LINZ (Austria)

A program to present mathematical Latex documents in a Braille maths notation, has been developed LABRADOOR is a part of the approach of the working group at the University of Linz to the Maths access problem. LABRADOOR is planned and developed as a module of a computer supported mathematical working environment for the blind. It gives access to mathematical sources by representing documents in a format that suits the needs of the mathematical working environment, the computer supported production of Braille outputs and the production of electronic documents. Although LABRADOOR is planned primarily as a module for a working environment, the practical application showed that `stand alone' program suits the needs of different tasks. Especially since one year, LABRADOOR is used to produce mathematical literature in Braille for students at secondary as well as university level in Austria.

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