AdgangForAlle (Equal Access for All)



A recently published survey from OECD states that approximately 1/4 (~ 1.3 mill) of the Danish population between the ages of 16 to 66 have difficulties acquiring knowledge from text-based sources. As a consequence they are at a disadvantage using printed material such as newspapers, magazines, manuals etc. Their situation may become even worse in the coming years as it is expected that many telephone services will gradually be replaced by web pages (e.g. telephone directory assistance and travel information). In general good reading skills are anticipated to be one of the key qualifications for being able to participate in a modern democratic society. The project vision is to develop a specialized web portal for people having reading disabilities. Through the portal the users will have access to any other web page which upon user request can be read aloud using text-to-speech synthesis technology. The automatic reading will be achieved without requiring users to install any other software (or hardware) than Microsoft's Internet Explorer version 5 or newer. By the end of 2001 the project has succeeded in installing a first version of the software on a central server. After highlighting some text the user can press the 'play button' and have it read aloud using a Danish Text-to-Speech synthesiser on a central server. Any other web page may be loaded by typing its' url' in the address field. Plans for 2002 aim at optimising the software with respect to e.g. latency time, parsing of web pages etc. . In addition formal user tests will be conducted to document the potential of the server as a compensating tool for people with reading difficulties. Furthermore the project is organising a workshop entitled "The Talking Internet Service - a Free Tool for People with Reading Difficulties" at "The 10th Biennial Conference of The International Society for Augmentative and Alternative Communication (ISAAC)". The workshop will disseminate project results and discuss future research directions. The project is funded by the Digital North Denmark, from the local public authorities and by the participating partners, each with one third of the total cost. The project is scheduled to run over a three-year period, ending in 2003. Further information may be found at: and in the submitted paper [Andersen, Dalsgaard, Hjulmand, Larsen and Pedersen, 2001] (Ove Andersen, Paul Dalsgaard)
Effektiv start/slut dato31/12/200331/12/2003


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