For companies in Germany, web accessibility has never been a compelling issue until now – this was also confirmed by a series of tests conducted in 2011 by the Fraunhofer Institute for Applied Information Technology FIT in Sankt Augustin. The scientists at the Web Compliance Center used their analysis tools to test the “web compliance” – or adherence to international web standards – among the Internet sites of German companies listed on the DAX.
The outcome: 90 percent of the websites exhibited substantial flaws. For instance, important data could only be found after much effort, the websites took too long to load, or they were deficiently displayed on mobile devices. “‘Web compliance’ not only means optimizing websites so that they can be used by disabled and older persons,” explains Dr. Carlos Velasco of the Web Compliance Center at FIT. “Search engines such as Google also have considerable problems with faulty sites. This may make the sites impossible to find or prevent them from ranking high in search requests. That is why this issue actually deserves a high priority.”
Economic advantages through accessibility
An increasing number of companies have since realized that accessibility also comes with major economic advantages. Hewlett Packard Italia, Public-I Group and Polymedia, for example, are participating in the EU research project, “Inclusive Future-Internet Web Services (I2Web).” Coordinated by FIT, the project has a budget of EUR 2.7 million for a 2 and half years.
The partners include the University of York (United Kingdom) and the University of Ljubljana (Slovenia), as well as the National Council for the Blind of Ireland and the Foundation for Assistive Technology (FAST). Participating companies offer Internet television, Video On Demand (VOD), online banking services and content management systems. These sites will soon be barrier-free.
Monitoring social networks for illegal activities
To enable site operators to monitor their sites efficiently, the FIT computer scientists had already developed the “imergo Web Compliance Suite” back in 2004. It is comprised of a series of tools that can be integrated into content management systems. They review websites for adherence to certain rules, and these not only cover accessibility: for instance, one could monitor a social network such as Facebook for certain word groups that point to illegal activities. A company could also verify if the corporate design standards were being met on all their pages.
“Typically, several content editors take care of large websites,” says Velasco. “The suite tests whether the logo is located in the right spot on every page, for example.”
The EU project “I2Web” launched in 2010 is a kind of progression from the “imergo Web Compliance Suite.” The prototype contains, for instance, a development environment for an Expert Viewer. Not all accessibility guidelines can be checked automatically by a software program. For instance, photographs on a website should have a suitable alternative text. While a test tool can detect whether a text exists, it cannot determine if it also “suitably” describes what can be seen in the image.
So the Expert Viewer offers a list of all relevant image texts that editors can review for the correctness of content. One important part of the EU project is conformity with interfaces, such as when customers wish to use Video On Demand or Internet TV on their televisions. “I2Web” ensures that the websites work seamlessly on all devices (if possible), and can be operated with complete accessibility.
Given the rapid pace of the Internet‘s evolution, the researchers at FIT will not soon run out of things to do: they will consistently have to adapt their tools to new browsers, the latest mobile devices and additional interfaces. But their work pays off: Open Text, a leading provider of content management systems, successfully markets the “imergo tools” as an additional option on its products.
Dr. Carlos Velasco Nunez | Fraunhofer Research News
NASA CubeSat to test miniaturized weather satellite technology
10.11.2017 | NASA/Goddard Space Flight Center
New approach uses light instead of robots to assemble electronic components
08.11.2017 | The Optical Society
The WHO reports an estimated 429,000 malaria deaths each year. The disease mostly affects tropical and subtropical regions and in particular the African continent. The Fraunhofer Institute for Silicate Research ISC teamed up with the Fraunhofer Institute for Molecular Biology and Applied Ecology IME and the Institute of Tropical Medicine at the University of Tübingen for a new test method to detect malaria parasites in blood. The idea of the research project “NanoFRET” is to develop a highly sensitive and reliable rapid diagnostic test so that patient treatment can begin as early as possible.
Malaria is caused by parasites transmitted by mosquito bite. The most dangerous form of malaria is malaria tropica. Left untreated, it is fatal in most cases....
The formation of stars in distant galaxies is still largely unexplored. For the first time, astron-omers at the University of Geneva have now been able to closely observe a star system six billion light-years away. In doing so, they are confirming earlier simulations made by the University of Zurich. One special effect is made possible by the multiple reflections of images that run through the cosmos like a snake.
Today, astronomers have a pretty accurate idea of how stars were formed in the recent cosmic past. But do these laws also apply to older galaxies? For around a...
Just because someone is smart and well-motivated doesn't mean he or she can learn the visual skills needed to excel at tasks like matching fingerprints, interpreting medical X-rays, keeping track of aircraft on radar displays or forensic face matching.
That is the implication of a new study which shows for the first time that there is a broad range of differences in people's visual ability and that these...
Computer Tomography (CT) is a standard procedure in hospitals, but so far, the technology has not been suitable for imaging extremely small objects. In PNAS, a team from the Technical University of Munich (TUM) describes a Nano-CT device that creates three-dimensional x-ray images at resolutions up to 100 nanometers. The first test application: Together with colleagues from the University of Kassel and Helmholtz-Zentrum Geesthacht the researchers analyzed the locomotory system of a velvet worm.
During a CT analysis, the object under investigation is x-rayed and a detector measures the respective amount of radiation absorbed from various angles....
The quantum world is fragile; error correction codes are needed to protect the information stored in a quantum object from the deteriorating effects of noise. Quantum physicists in Innsbruck have developed a protocol to pass quantum information between differently encoded building blocks of a future quantum computer, such as processors and memories. Scientists may use this protocol in the future to build a data bus for quantum computers. The researchers have published their work in the journal Nature Communications.
Future quantum computers will be able to solve problems where conventional computers fail today. We are still far away from any large-scale implementation,...
15.11.2017 | Event News
15.11.2017 | Event News
30.10.2017 | Event News
22.11.2017 | Business and Finance
22.11.2017 | Physics and Astronomy
22.11.2017 | Physics and Astronomy