University project aims to improve mobile web

University of Manchester scientists are seeking to make the web more accessible on mobile devices, using technology developed to help blind and visually impaired people surf the internet.

University of Manchester scientists are seeking to make the web more accessible on mobile devices, using technology developed to help blind and visually impaired people surf the internet.

At present most websites do not work well on mobile devices, despite almost two-thirds of mobiles offering browsers. But increased use of mobiles is prompting efforts to improve the web for mobiles, with the Worldwide Web Consortium publishing new best practice guidelines in June.

The £205,000 three-year university project aims to draw on the experience of visually impaired people and technology such as screen readers to simplify the content of conventional websites so that they can be read more easily on mobiles.

The project aims to produce a validation engine that can screen websites to ensure they are accessible and compatible with mobile use. This will work with software designed to strip away the clutter from web pages and put them into a mobile-friendly format.

Simon Harper, who will lead the project said, “Screen readers used by blind or visually impaired web users are very good at stripping web pages down into text only formats but what we want to achieve are content rich formats which are just as accessible.”


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