Monday, May 11, 2015

New software program being developed to make the web more accessible

Australia-based father and engineer Kenneth Springer has been developing Hueyify, a piece of software to help make the internet a more accessible place for people with disabilities, for the past several years.  Springer, his daughter Elleleen, and his son Huey all have Craniometaphyseal Dysplasia, a disease that causes wide-ranging side effects and that led to Huey becoming blind in one eye and legally blind in the other.  When Huey started using the internet, he found it difficult to navigate all of the densely packed, compressed information that the World Wide Web presents.  After his father searched unsuccessfully for tools to help him, the two came up with the idea for Hueyify.

Hueyify is designed to allow custom reorganization of a web page, enabling users to change layout, colors, and styles in order to suit their individual needs.  Hueyify can also be used to annotate specific parts of a website's content, or to delete parts that are irrelevant or distracting.  Designed to work with internet browsers that a user already has installed on their computer, the program highlights customizability for those who have different abilities than the sighted people for whom most websites are designed.

Many sighted people, Springer notes, learn to scan web pages and quickly identify which information is useful and which is not.  For people with impaired vision and those who have autism, however, it's not always as easy to skim through and classify all those details.  With the internet becoming a bigger and bigger part of our daily lives, Springer couldn't shake the idea of making it more accessible to people like his son.  And so the project was born, with the goal of improving the lives of anyone who finds it challenging to navigate the internet.

Hueyify is not yet available to the public, but Springer is working to make it so.  And when the project does become available, their website states that they wish it to be free of charge for anyone who is blind, legally blind, or has autism.

You can read more about Hueyify on their website at, or in articles about the project here and here.

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