Kouroupetroglou, C., Salampasis, M., and Manitsaris, M. (2005) A metadata enabled web browser for blind people, In: Proceedings of Annual Conference on Telecommunication and multimedia TEMU 2005. Creete, June 2005.

Abstract -: The World Wide Web is today the largest source of information. One of the goals of its creators was to be accessible by everyone. Unfortunately some groups of people have problems in accessing it and blind users is one of them. This paper article describes an ongoing research effort work which aims to explore the idea of using metadata for in order to improv ing e accessiblility accessibility of web sites that were designed and created without accessibility in mind. In our research work, metadata are used to semantically enrich web pages to providing encourage semantically enriched browsing and also to provid e ing browsing shortcuts to various elements of a web page. The metadata are integrated into web pages using an annotation tool which helps an annotator to annotate web pages semi-automatically using a GUI and a lexicon of available annotations . The lexicon is constructed using OWL based on the ideas of semantic Web. The expectation of our research work is that by using metadata we could provide enrich the quality of a bett e r the interaction experience and we may increase the efficiency of the information seeking process , for this reason we may provide a more effective voice web browser for the blind people. A prototype of the web browser based on these ideas was experimentally tested using 6 blind users which run 18 search sessions. The experiment conducted in order to give feedback about the improvement in accessibility and usability of a certain web site that was enriched using metadata. The results indicate that the use of metadata for in order to provid ing e the users with information about various elements of a web page improved slightly the usability of the browser and the idea of browsing through these elements was welcomed by blind users who all commented positive on it. This improvement might become even more obvious if a more extended test environment is used.

Salampasis, M., Kouroupetroglou, C., Tektonidis, D., "An Application Framework for Augmenting Information Access of Blind People in the Semantic Web", WSEAS Transactions on Information Science and Applications, ISSN 1790-0832, Issue 11, vol 2., 2005

Abstract -: The World Wide Web (WWW) has become a vital aspect of our society since it has become the largest information source and a new medium for communication. However, the primary interaction mode with the WWW is via web browsers designed for visual modes of interaction, and this restricts access to the WWW for an entire community of people which are blind or visually impaired (VI). Information access is difficult for them because they have to deal with the reading task of a web page, but primarily because web pages are designed with sighted users in mind which are experienced in the desktop metaphor. In this paper we present an application framework which exploits the idea of Semantic Web to augment information access of VI. The application framework consists of three tools that deal with the problems of knowledge representation, semantic annotation and knowledge utilization. Taken together the tools provide an application framework that may be used to enhance semantically web pages. The final aim is to make information access of VI in the Semantic Web more effective and efficient, basically as a result of rationalizing their information seeking process.

Salampasis, M., Kouroupetroglou, C., and Manitsaris, M. (2005) Semantically Enhanced Browsing for Blind People in the WWW , In: Proceedings of Sixteenth ACM Conference on Hypertext and Hypermedia HT2005. Salzburg, September 2005.

Abstract -: The WWW is today the biggest source of information and an essential tool for many activities of daily life. Unfortunately, information seeking in this complex hypermedia environment is generally not an easy task. The potentially complex task of information seeking in the WWW is further complicated when the end-user is blind or visually impaired (VI). Usually, web pages are created without taken accessibility into account, and this poses a lot of problems to VI during information seeking in the web. In this paper we discuss problems related to this issue and how the information seeking process in the WWW could become more effective and efficient for the VI. We also present an ongoing research effort which aims to exploit the idea of semantic web to enhance browsing semantically and to rationalize the way VI browse the WWW.

Kouroupetroglou, C., Salampasis, M., and Manitsaris, M. (2006) A Semantic-Web based Framework for Developing
Applications to Improve Accessibility in the WWW, In: Proceedings of Third W4A International Cross-Disciplinary Workshop On Web Accessibility (W4A 2006), Edinburgh, May 2006.

Abstract -: One of the biggest issues the World Wide Web (WWW) community has to overcome is accessibility for all. The rapid expansion of the WWW using problematic web authoring practices, together with the dominance of the desktop metaphor in web page design has raised many WWW accessibility problems for people with disabilities. In this paper we present a what may be termed as a "Semantic Web application framework" which allows different applications to be designed and developed for improving accessibility of the WWW. Apart from the architecture, the tools and the technologies that compose the framework, the key idea of the framework is that it aims at promoting the idea of creating a community of people federating into groups each playing a specific role: ontology creators creating concepts using an ontological approach to describe various elements of the WWW, annotators using concepts to annotate specific pages, user-agent developers creating tools based on the framework, and finally end-users (people with disabilities) that use these tools for their benefit. Within the proposed framework, these groups cooperate and interact with each other, having as their ultimate goal the improvement of WWW accessibility.

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