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IBM Alphaworks: Social Accessibility Project August 12, 2008

Posted by Glenn Irvine in Blog, Commentary, Review.
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I thought I would give the Alphaworks Project sited in the title of this entry a quick rap, as a great example of social computing paradigms being put to a very worthy business & social purpose.

The IBM Alphaworks “Social Accessibility Project” from the Labs in Tokyo is all about creating a collaborative environment that enhances the experience of disabled people to access all forms of Web content. Engaging Supporters (a bit like Wikipedia) to brainstorm and suggest improvements for websites for accessibility.

The following is an example of it’s use:

The following scenario is an example of a typical use:

  1. While surfing the Internet, a user of a screen reader reports a problem to the server by using a shortcut key command (after the screen reader extension has been installed).
  2. The server immediately sends the report to supporters.
  3. Interested supporters investigate the problem by using the browser extension.
  4. The supporters discuss solutions among themselves through Web applications on the server.
  5. The supporters create a set of metadata to solve the problem; they then submit it to the server.
  6. When the user visits the page again, the page is automatically fixed. Any screen reader user who installs the screen reader extension can access the accessible version of the page.
  7. If a user wants to comment on the metadata or suggest improvements, he can send measurements and comments to the server.
  8. Through the server, supporters discuss solutions and consider users’ comments; they refine metadata by using the browser extension.
  9. Supporters and users can check their points and ranking in the portal on the server.

I could see how elements of Public Sector organisations could use these methods and technologies to assist various Agencies with lifting the accessibility of their websites. Universities and corporates could certainly benefit as well.


Glenn Irvine