IBM and groups like the OpenAjax Alliance are launching a few initiatives to make the Internet more accessible to folks with mobility or sensory disabilities.
The overarching theme here is that the Internet needs voice Web development and other interfaces to address 750 million people around the world with disabilities and another 900 million illiterate folks. The elderly as well as people with disabilities have largely had to sit out the Web 2.0 advances such as social networking.
Among the notable moves:
- The OpenAjax Alliance (OAA) will open roll out new source tools to help developers test Web 2.0 applications to see how they line up with federal accessibility standards. With the OAA tools, applications are tested dynamically as developers build the code. Before the OAA tool developers had to complete their ode to see how they worked for the blind and other people with disabilities.
- IBM Research in India will launch an effort with the Indian Institute of Technology in Bombay to develop mobile Web interfaces for semi- to illiterate people.
- IBM Research in Japan will highlight an accessibility improvement system to deliver public services via the Internet. Japan has a bevy of elderly citizens it needs to reach. Japan's Tottori Prefecture Information-Center, KOA Corporation and IBM will collaborate on the system, which will aggregate requested improvements in the cloud and renovate pages to address requests by the disabled.