Studying Multimedia Features in Scratch to Build Accessible Application Software for Special Users

By Mukhtar M. Rana and Mohammed Fakrudeen.

Published by The Technology Collection

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

iPLEASE-Intelligent distributed Prototype by Learning, Empowering and Authoring in Special Education is a research project which aims to develop accessible courseware for disabled users. This study will focus on how Scratch Language Integrated Development Environment (IDE) multimedia features support to design and develop an accessible application software by using Web Contents Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) 2.0. This will be demonstrated by matching scratch code segments against each success criterion given by WCAG 2.0. WCAG 2.0 specifies four principles: perceivable, operable, understandable, and robust. Under these principles, there are several guidelines. For each guideline, testable success criteria are provided where requirements and conformance testing are necessary. For our study, we considered only three WCAG 2.0 principles, namely perceivable, operable and, understandable, because scratch does not support any assistive technology such as screen reader and magnifier. In this study, for each principle, we explained the guideline and success criteria for scratch IDE and what scratch blocks are available to design and develop in order to address the relevant accessibility issue. We also recommended how to satisfy the success criteria through the available features in the scratch blocks. Certain guidelines and success criteria could not be met due to some limitation of the Scratch Language IDE. This study is based on the Scratch 1.4 version. The study shows that scratch developers can adopt WCAG 2.0 as a base for addressing accessibility to a significant extent. Careful planning and designing is needed to achieve the accessibility goals. Scratch programming language emphasizes simplicity, but developers should have depth knowledge in programming techniques and WCAG guidelines to achieve accessibility for special users. Since assistive technology is not supported by scratch, all accessibility features should be incorporated via programming techniques. Use of techniques and concepts described in this paper will ensure that Scratch projects effectively reach a larger audience.

Keywords: Accessible Application Software, Scratch Language, Special Users, WCAG 2.0

International Journal of Technology, Knowledge and Society, Volume 8, Issue 5, pp.13-25. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Article: Electronic (PDF File; 718.090KB).

Dr. Mukhtar M. Rana

Assistant Professor, Department of Computer Science and Software Engineering, University of Hail, Chappaqua, Saudi Arabia

Dr. Mukhtar Masood Rana is pioneer and project leader of the SWANS (Semantic Web Accessibility Network Services) a research project. He has completed his Ph.D. in 2008 and started to work as a visiting lecturer & researcher in Anglia Ruskin University, Cambridge, UK. In 2009, he joined as an Assistant Professor in the University of Hail, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. In 2003, he 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 to the University in collaboration with Cambridge On-line Pathways. 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 Services, Semantic Web and Cloud Computing Framework for visually impaired people to transform their lives. He has 20 publications in peer reviewed international journal and conference proceedings. In 2007, on his research achievements, High Commission of Pakistan, United Kingdom awarded Dr. Wali Mohammad research award-2007.

Mohammed Fakrudeen

PhD Student, Computing and Technology, Anglia Ruskin University, Cambridge, UK

Mohammed Fakrudeen is a lecturer in the University of Hail, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. He worked as senior consultant in Software Development Company having headquarters in USA. He also worked as lecturer in various colleges in UAE and Qatar. He is holding Master degrees in Computer Applications and Environmental Sciences. In 2006, he has completed his research on “Image Fragmentation Technique” and secured his Master of Philosophy degree in Computer Science. His research interests include Web Services and Web Accessibility for special persons.

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