RIAM: Reciprocal Interoperability between the Accessible and Mobile Webs

Lead Research Organisation: University of Manchester
Department Name: Computer Science


The aim of RIAM is to investigate ways in which to integrate together research into the Accessible and Mobile World Wide Webs (Web), to develop a common infrastructure, and to validate this infrastructure using existing Web documents and Mobile client simulators.With the launch of the W3C's Mobile Web Initiative, it has become increasingly obvious that access to the Mobile Web suffers from interoperability and usability problems similar to those experienced by disabled people when accessing the existing Web. With the move to small screen size, low connection speeds, and different ways of interacting, all Mobile device users effectively suffer the sensory and cognitive impairments normally only experienced by disabled users.The research we propose will investigate the use of Web documents and parts of those documents in order to ensure device independence and place the Mobile Web in a position to access the entire Web. We assert that if the Web is accessible then it is also Mobile, and will validate our assertions by running a series of repeating experiments, testing the results of these experiments against our objectives, and using the results to refine our models and software tools.Thus RIAM has four major aims:(1) To review current guidelines, best practices, and techniques related to Web page interaction and to the intersection between these guidelines, practices, and techniques.(2) Use the results of this research to design a system allowing the Accessible Web and Mobile Web to interoperate.(3) To devise a framework and strategy to migrate this research into the Mobile Web domain; and(4) To develop an automatable validation methodology (and Key Performance Indicators) to test a Web Document's device independence (ergo its suitability for the Mobile Web) based on research from the Accessible Web.


10 25 50
publication icon
Harper S (2011) Mobile device impairment similar problems, similar solutions? in Behaviour & Information Technology

publication icon
Yesilada Y (2010) Small-device users situationally impaired by input in Computers in Human Behavior

publication icon
Brajnik G (2011) Web accessibility guideline aggregation for older users and its validation in Universal Access in the Information Society

publication icon
Chen T (2010) What input errors do you experience? Typing and pointing errors of mobile Web users in International Journal of Human-Computer Studies

Description Our work supports the claim that there is a reciprocal interoperability between the accessible and mobile Webs, that this interoperability can be modeled, and is computable. We augmented, and combined, current accessibility and mobile Web guidelines with those derived from empirical evidence. Thereby placing existing empirical evidence in support of current guidelines and enabling the formulation of new ones. We combined these sets of guidelines into one holistic framework; demonstrating the reciprocity between guidelines and impairments by adding mobility as an additional situationally induced impairment, and disseminating this information via the W3C Standards Process. This framework was then transferred to the pre-existing Barrier Walkthrough Method (derived from SAMBA and LIFT); a manual process representing the 'spirit of the law'. The guidelines that could be tested automatically where then transferred to the W3C's mobileOK Checker and the complete set was transferred to the eclipse ACT Framework; an automated validation engine representing the 'letter of the law'.
Exploitation Route To support our assertions of interoperability, we tested the difference between physically disabled uses and mobile users, finding that both magnitude and extent of the in-accessibility were the same in both groups when the mobile users were moving. This lead us to suggest future work - which we have exploited with industry via the TEOA project.

TEOA: Text Entry For Older Adults: One Research Associate - 01 Oct 2011 to 30 June 2012; EPSRC Knowledge Transfer Award (EP/H500154/1-R113685); £29,205 (Research Body Contribution) / £6,000 (Buttercup Telecoms Contribution) / £8,700 (CTIC Contribution) / £4,779 (Age Concern Contribution); Knowledge Transfer Awards Program. Proposes an assessment of the feasibility of moving prototypical user input (users supplied via Age Concern) error correction technology from the mobile Web to the MyMobileWeb platform initiated by Telefonica/O2, with development continued by CTIC with Buttercups Business Cases, thereby enabling all mobile applications can take advantage of reduced error rates. All Technical Reports, Data, and Code are held in an Open Archive. We have contributed to the creation of two major W3C standards documents (http://www.w3.org/WAI/mobile/experiences and http://www.w3.org/TR/mwbp-wcag/) as well as a modified W3C mobileOK validation engine and eclipse framework via the ACTF project (http://www.eclipse.org/actf/). We have lead two tutorials focusing on the subject of RIAM and have authored two book chapters to disseminate our work to academics, researchers, and industrial developers. In addition, we have released a number of user focused articles gaining over thirty stories in the national and international press.
Sectors Digital/Communication/Information Technologies (including Software)

URL http://wel.cs.manchester.ac.uk/research/riam/project-status/
Description We transferred our work to the pre-existing Barrier Walkthrough Method (derived from SAMBA and LIFT); a manual process representing the 'spirit of the law'. The guidelines that could be tested automatically where then transferred to the W3C's mobileOK Checker and the complete set was transferred to the eclipse ACT Framework; an automated validation engine representing the 'letter of the law'.
First Year Of Impact 2009
Sector Digital/Communication/Information Technologies (including Software)
Impact Types Societal,Policy & public services

Description UK Government Digital Inclusion Proposal (2008-2009)
Geographic Reach National 
Policy Influence Type Implementation circular/rapid advice/letter to e.g. Ministry of Health
Impact Major contribution to the response document, prepared via Loughborough through the EPSRC Digital Economy Inclusion Cluster, to the UK Government Digital Inclusion Proposal Document.
Description TEOA: Text Entry For Older Adults
Amount £49,000 (GBP)
Funding ID EP/H500154/1?R113685 
Organisation Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) 
Sector Public
Country United Kingdom
Start 12/2011 
End 06/2012
Title Accessibility Tools Framework (Eclipse Technology Platform) 
Description ACTF is a framework that serves as an extensible infrastructure upon which developers can build a variety of utilities that help to evaluate and enhance the accessibility of applications and content for people with disabilities. A collection of example utilities will also be provided which were created on top of the framework such as compliance validation tools, assistive technology simulation applications, usability visualization tools, unit-testing utilities, and alternative accessible interfaces for applications. The ACTF componentry and the utilities will be integrated into a single tooling environment on top of the Eclipse framework. The framework components will function cooperatively with each other and with other Eclipse projects to provide a comprehensive development environment for creating accessible applications and content. 
Type Of Material Improvements to research infrastructure 
Year Produced 2009 
Provided To Others? Yes  
Impact Now used by the Japanese government; among many others. 
URL http://www.eclipse.org/actf/team.php
Title All Software 
Description Chrome Auditory Extensions. MobileOK Extensions 
IP Reference  
Protection Copyrighted (e.g. software)
Year Protection Granted 2009
Licensed Yes
Impact All Software is released on GNU licence.
Description Industrial Training Courses 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact As part of the RIAM project, and to disseminate its findings directly, we ran two tutorials / training courses:

1) Simon Harper and Yeliz Yesilada. Practical Accessibility: A Web Accessibility Primer. Invited Tutorial - 9th International Conference on Web Engineering; and 2) Yeliz Yesilada. Developing and Delivering Content for Mobile Web. Invited Tutorial - Public sector online 2008.

In addition, the project team were also invited to talk about RIAM at a number of research establishments.

Tutorial at the International Conference on Web Engineering
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2009
URL http://icwe2009.webengineering.org/TutorialAccepted.aspx#HarperYesilada
Description International Standards 
Form Of Engagement Activity A formal working group, expert panel or dialogue
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact The RIAM project (and its investigators) is a full-member of the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C), the premier body for the formulation of Web Standards. In this way RIAM directly influenced the evolution of specific areas of the Web, particularly, the work on accessibility and mobile best practices. Indeed, the research associate is an active member in the Mobile Web Best Practices Working Group, and the Web Accessibility Initiative Education and Outreach Working Group.

This contribution resulted in two web standards documents authored and co-authored by the research associate and directly influenced by RIAM.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2009