WWW6: yuri rubinsky award
murray maloney, technical director with SoftQuad International and a member of the International World Wide Web Conference Committee, presented the Yuri Rubinsky Memorial World Wide Web Award and a check for $10'000 to gregg vanderheiden of the Trace Research & Development Center at the university of Wisconsin-Madison.
gregg vanderheiden was honored for his efforts in making computers in general and the Web in particular better accessible for people with disabilities. some of his work was presented in a short film. he had developed an information system using a touch screen. people with no disabilities are able to use it like a Web browser. a touch of the screen would show the related information by following a link on a Web page. visually impaired people could use the same system but with much larger fonts and/or audio feedback. in this mode, when a person touched the screen, the title was spoken. to follow the link, the person had to take an additional action. the information was hierarchically structured, so that it was easy to navigate through the various topics.
accessibility for people with disabilities seems to me an important issue. most computer programs today require good eyesight to be used. visually impaired people cannot use most of the commodity software. the same is true for the Web. therefore the World Wide Web Consortium has launched the Web Accessibility Initiative (WAI) to promote and achieve better Web accessibility for people with disabilities. but it will not help to have Web browsers that may read documents to the user or translate them into braille, if the documents do not follow certain rules. today, many Web pages - particularly homepages - use often images, even for text. but non-graphical Web browsers will not be able to pronounce or translate into braille such pages. also readers using text-based browsers such as lynx cannot enjoy these pages. in the near future, things like Cascading Style Sheets (CSS) and eXtendable Markup Language (XML) will help to improve separation between content and presentation. authors must use such means and must present information in such a way that non-graphical browsers can access it.
at the ETH, we shall make sure that our pages are as accessible as possible for everyone !
to the WWW6 trip report main document