Developing a Prototype Using Web Services and Contemporary Wireless Assistive Technologies to Resolve Physical Immobility Issues of Visually Impaired People

By Mukhtar M. Rana and Uzma Rana.

Published by The Technology Collection

Format Price
Article: Print $US10.00
Article: Electronic $US5.00

The SWANS (Semantic Web Accessibility Network Services) is a research project which addresses physical immobility issues of visually impaired (VI) people, exploring ways of transforming their lives using Semantic Web Services (SWS). This paper explores the development process of an innovative prototype: SWANS-TAW (SWANS-Travel Assistant Wireless). This prototype was designed, developed and deployed using pocket PC 2003 second edition Emulator available in the Microsoft Visual Studio 2005. SWANS’ services and contemporary wireless assistive technologies were used to assist VI users. The prototype was examined in order to assess how confident and independent VI users are in their daily lives. Our prototype can help them to explore new opportunities for education, employment and leisure, not only through independent, but also productive living. This research was conducted in collaboration with the Cambridge On-line Pathways Project.

A qualitative approach was used to evaluate this innovative prototype. This study was carried out through direct observations and informal interviews conducted over a year. The sample size consisted of fifteen people. In this sample one participant was color blind, three were blind and the remaining eleven had low vision. All participants were adults.

The study found that more than 60 percent of the participants were confident in dealing with their physical immobility issues using this new prototype; less than 40 percent of the participants could not manage to use this prototype due to the navigation problems caused by the small screen. This prototype could prove to be a model application for the wireless assistive technology and the web publishing industry.

Keywords: Web Services, Assistive Wireless Technology, Physical Immobility Issues and Visual Impairment

The International Journal of Technology, Knowledge and Society, Volume 4, Issue 3, pp.1-10. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Article: Electronic (PDF File; 961.214KB).

Dr. Mukhtar M. Rana

PhD Student, Department of Design and Technology, Faculty of Science and Technology, Anglia Ruskin University, Cambridge, UK

Mukhtar Masood Rana, a PhD student from Department of Design and Technology, Faculty of Science and Technology, Anglia Ruskin University, Cambridge, UK. In 2003, started to work as a volunteer Tutor in Cambridge Online Pathways Project and became interested to explore assistive technology in depth for the people who have visual impairment to resolve their difficulties to use Internet and computers. In 2005, he has submitted a research project with the name of SWANS(Semantic Web Accessibility Network Services) to the University in collaboration with Cambridge Online Pathways and Cam-sight. Along with these organizations he has been involved to raise awareness of how the use of computers could enhance the confidence and independence of disabled or disadvantaged people and help them to explore new opportunities for education, employment and leisure using assistive technologies. His research interests are Web Servives, Semantic Web and Semantic Grid Framework for visually impaired people to transform their lives. He has published eight research papers.

Dr. Uzma Rana

Researcher, University of Cambridge, Cambridge, UK

Dr. Uzma Rana has completed her PhD from University of Cambridge. Her field of research is Nano-electronics. She is also interested to explore the social impact of technology. She has published in various international journals and has delivered talks at different levels.

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