%@ LANGUAGE=JScript %><% var sName; sName = "Project " + " / " + "Products " + " / " + "Software"; %>
You can download the alternative browser for people with communication and/or cognitive impairments.
Below you can read more about the special characteristics about this browser.
Homepage = favourites page
The browser opens with a page that is filled with links to the person’s favourite sites. This is the person’s starting point for web navigation. It also acts as his home page, and the ‘home’ button will always bring him back to the favourites page. A facilitator can produce this page and keep it up to date, or this can be done by the person themselves.
For people with complex communication needs, e-mail and WWW addresses can be difficult to remember and to input. (See the User Requirements Document.) By giving ‘favourite’ websites a graphical representation, and storing them in an easily accessible format, the browser addresses some of these difficulties.
Integrated speech output
Speech synthesiser controls are integrated in the browser window. This enables those who find it difficult to understand written text on a web page to listen to it instead. The text on the web page can be sent to the speech synthesiser word by word, sentence by sentence, paragraph by paragraph, or in one piece, and as many times as the user wants. A coloured frame walks over the text while the voice is reading it aloud.
Many web pages contain embedded links to other pages. To highlight these, it is possible to select a second voice that will speak the word ‘link’ before reading aloud the link’s text.
During the investigation of user requirements, end users reported a desire for easily manageable text to speech output. Many facilitators also said, "speech output e.g. embedded control elements for speech synthesis software" was one of the services/developments that needed to be developed.
Together, the speech output and the frame that moves over the text make it easier for people with complex communication needs to understand the content of the page.
Switch access (and other input methods)
The browser can be operated in various ways: with one or two switches - with or without automatic scanning (with a cursor walking over the buttons) -, with a mouse or alternative pointing device, or via a standard or adapted keyboard.
The primary end users of WWAAC include people with a range of disabilities, including physical disabilities such as cerebral palsy. (The definition of the end user group can be found in the User Requirements Document.) Obviously these target users require a wide range of input options.
It is essential to meet these requirements. During the investigation of user requirements facilitators told the investigators that they considered "identifying reliable switch access options for people with physical disabilities a significant barrier to AAC use". Many of them indicated that there was a need for a switch accessible WWW browser.
The end user can use a 'selection set' - configured by a facilitator - to operate the program. The selection set can be dynamic (consisting of more than one page). When it contains a page with characters and commands like 'backspace' and 'enter' it can be used as a virtual keyboard for the WWAAC browser.
Many end users of the WWAAC products are not able to produce alphabetic text; others can only do this with an onscreen keyboard. The selection set can not only help them to operate the program in a way that is easy for them, it can also help them to enter web addresses and text in input fields.
Fully configurable toolbars and buttons
The browser’s toolbars and buttons are fully configurable by a person’s facilitator.
The facilitator can control how many buttons appear on the toolbars, the size and content of the buttons, and the location of the toolbars. This enables the browser to be used by people with a wide variety of needs.
The browser had to provide an easy to use layout designer to offer end people access to the browser that meets their needs. For example:
The summary function creates a summary of the current web page from the pages title, the number of frames, the headings, and the links contained in the site (except links without a text or with a text like 'Click here').
With an extension to Dreamweaver, web developers will be able to add concept codes or images of symbols to the text in a web page. When the concept coding framework is ready, adapted browsers - such as the WWAAC browser - will be able to convert the concept codes to symbols. This would mean that someone with such a browser could see a symbol supported summary of the web page. In standard browsers, the concept codes would be invisible.
Lots of texts and graphics are likely to confuse a person with complex communication needs. The summary offers an overview of the contents of a web page and can make it much easier to navigate a site.