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New Toolbar to Aid Web Accessibility

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Credit: University of Southampton ECS

A team at the University of Southampton is working on a toolbar that promises to make the Web more accessible. The Joint Information Systems Committee (JISC) TechDis toolbar is designed to read text aloud and check spelling. It also offers a dictionary, text enlargement, color, and font changes. Moreover, users do not need specially installed assistive technologies to use the JISC TechDis toolbar with Web services such as wikis, blogs, social networks, and Twitter.

"The toolbar, which is quick and easy to install, will make Web sites a lot easier for people to use," says toolbar developer Sebastian Skuse. "For example, a visually impaired user can switch any Web page into a high contrast mode, increase the text size, or have the page read to them."

The team will now pursue beta testing of the toolbar, which can be downloaded for free and works with any platform. Skuse says the team also is considering extending the toolbar for use on mobile devices.

From University of Southampton
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