IBM’s Easy Web Browsing

Easy Web Browsing is another interesting project to come out of IBM’s Tokyo research labs:

Easy Web Browsing is software that helps novice users, seniors and people with limited vision or eye fatigue access Web site information more easily. It is installed as Web content on your client’s Web site and can be initiated by their customers on demand. The software, which is controlled by an easy-to-use control panel, allows users to:

  • Enlarge text.
  • Enlarge characters.
  • Read text aloud with speed control.
  • Change background color.
  • Assign sound effects to events such as downloading completion.

It is not necessary to redesign the existing Web content on the customer’s Web site. The necessary software components are automatically downloaded and setup. It is easy to maintain the end-user’s local installation by updating the customer’s Web site.

Check out the Easy Web Browsing demonstration (requires Internet Explorer 5.5 SP2) - it’s fully functional, but limited to browsing pages under IBM’s domain. This opens up an interesting question: at this stage, it seems that the software needs to be tied to a specific site; as soon as a user moves outside of its domain, EWB is simply turned off. What happens when a user goes from one “enabled” site to another? Is the transition from one domain to the next seamless? And will it be possible to license the software so it works on any site (as technically no changes are required on the server side)?

Filed under: Accessibility
Posted by Patrick H. Lauke on Sunday, April 3, 2005

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