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01.11.2007 | Long Paper | Ausgabe 3/2007

Universal Access in the Information Society 3/2007

Personalizable edge services for Web accessibility

Zeitschrift:
Universal Access in the Information Society > Ausgabe 3/2007
Autoren:
Ugo Erra, Gennaro Iaccarino, Delfina Malandrino, Vittorio Scarano

Abstract

Web Content Accessibility guidelines by W3C (W3C Recommendation, May 1999. http://​www.​w3.​org/​TR/​WCAG10/​) provide several suggestions for Web designers regarding how to author Web pages in order to make them accessible to everyone. In this context, this paper proposes the use of edge services as an efficient and general solution to promote accessibility and breaking down the digital barriers that inhibit users with disabilities to actively participate to any aspect of society. The idea behind edge services mainly affect the advantages of a personalized navigation in which contents are tailored according to different issues, such as client’s devices capabilities, communication systems and network conditions and, finally, preferences and/or abilities of the growing number of users that access the Web. To meet these requirements, Web designers have to efficiently provide content adaptation and personalization functionalities mechanisms in order to guarantee universal access to the Internet content. The so far dominant paradigm of communication on the WWW, due to its simple request/response model, cannot efficiently address such requirements. Therefore, it must be augmented with new components that attempt to enhance the scalability, the performances and the ubiquity of the Web. Edge servers, acting on the HTTP data flow exchanged between client and server, allow on-the-fly content adaptation as well as other complex functionalities beyond the traditional caching and content replication services. These value-added services are called edge services and include personalization and customization, aggregation from multiple sources, geographical personalization of the navigation of pages (with insertion/emphasis of content that can be related to the user’s geographical location), translation services, group navigation and awareness for social navigation, advanced services for bandwidth optimization such as adaptive compression and format transcoding, mobility, and ubiquitous access to Internet content. This paper presents Personalizable Accessible Navigation (Pan) that is a set of edge services designed to improve Web pages accessibility, developed and deployed on top of a programmable intermediary framework. The characteristics and the location of the services, i.e., provided by intermediaries, as well as the personalization and the opportunities to select multiple profiles make Pan a platform that is especially suitable for accessing the Web seamlessly also from mobile terminals.

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