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Carnegie Mellon U Project Aims To Improve the Web for People with Disabilities

Researchers at Carnegie Mellon University have received a $748,000 grant to develop methods for improving the Web and cloud applications for people with disabilities.

The grant was awarded under the Inclusive Cloud and Web Computing program and administered by the United States Department of Education's National Institute on Disability and Rehabilitation Research.

For the project, CMU will focus on solving accessibility and ease of use issues for people with visual and cognitive disabilities specifically. The researchers plan to address a wide range of basic hurdles that these users face, including:

  • Connecting to the Web;
  • Understanding content; and
  • Interacting with content.

On the software side, the group will tackle three key areas, with the goal of getting third-party developers to incorporate them into their products:

  • Issues related to presentation of Web content;
  • Making software customizable for people with disabilities; and
  • Incorporating accessibility features into Web pages, such as "closed captioning, volume control, video description, screen reader technology and accessible user interfaces," according to information released by ED.

"The Internet has become the interstate highway system for communication and ideas," said Arne Duncan, secretary of education, in a statement announcing the award. "All citizens, including those with disabilities, deserve to benefit from the lifelong learning experiences that the Internet offers. These grants help make that possible."

About the Author

David Nagel is the executive producer for 1105 Media's online K-12 and higher education publications and electronic newsletters. He can be reached at dnagel@1105media.com. He can now be followed on Twitter at http://twitter.com/THEJournalDave (K-12) or http://twitter.com/CampusTechDave (higher education). You can also connect with him on LinkedIn at http://www.linkedin.com/profile/view?id=10390192.

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