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CNI Podcast: WebAnywhere - A Screen Reader On-the-Go

This fifteen minute podcast features an interview with Jeff Bigham, Ph.D. candidate at the University of Washington and Richard Ladner, Boeing Professor in Computer Science and Engineering also at the University of Washington. It was recorded at the Coalition for Networked Information Fall 2008 Task Force Meeting. Bigham and Ladner developed the WebAnywhere web application which was awarded the Mellon Award for Technology Collaboration.

From the WebAnywhere abstract:

People often use computers other than their own to access web content, but blind users are restricted to using only computers equipped with expensive, special-purpose screen reading programs that they use to access the web. WebAnywhere is a web-based, self-voicing web browser that enables blind web users to access the web from almost any computer that can produce sound without installing new software. The system could serve as a convenient, low-cost solution for blind users on-the-go, for blind users unable to afford a full screen reader and for web developers targeting accessible design. This paper overviews existing solutions for mobile web access for blind users and presents the design of the WebAnywhere system. WebAnywhere generates speech remotely and uses prefetching strategies designed to reduce perceived latency. A user evaluation of the system is presented showing that blind users can use Web-Anywhere to complete tasks representative of what users might want to complete on computers that are not their own. A survey of public computer terminals shows that WebAnywhere can run on most.


This interview is provided courtesy of CNI and was recorded at their 2008 Fall Task Force Meeting.  The Coalition for Networked Information (CNI) is an organization dedicated to supporting the transformative promise of networked information technology for the advancement of scholarly communication and the enrichment of intellectual productivity.  You can learn more about CNI at their web site,


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File size: 13.69 MB

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