Making multimedia Internet content accessible and usable

Although multimedia content containing streaming media
is now widely used on the World Wide Web, there exist considerable
difficulties for blind users to access such content, due to its
dynamic changes, keyboard inoperability, and audio interference with
the speech from assistive software. In particular,
the third problem of audio interference is serious for blind users,
since multimedia content often contains streaming media such as video and music
which continuously play sounds,
and thus they cannot hear the speech, which is masked
by the loud media.

In this paper, we propose
a new accessible browser that can directly manipulate such
multimedia content. In order to control Flash contents,
our browser relies on a transcoding HTTP proxy to inject
special scripts into the Flash content and then
manipulates the embedded streaming media and sound objects via the injected scripts.
By using our browser, users can easily turn the volume up or down,
play, stop, or pause the streaming media with shortcut keys.
Since the users do not need to focus on buttons or sliders for these operations,
they can immediately stop or fade out the intrusive media when listening
to speech from assistive software.

By: Hisashi Miyashita, Hironobu Takagi, Daisuke Sato, and Chieko Asakawa

Published in: RT0719 in 2007

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