Revolutionising the internet for blind people
For many blind and partially sighted people using the internet, they find it so difficult that much of the time they simply don’t bother. Even with modern ‘screen reading’ software, navigating the web is like being trapped in an endless call centre, listening to every word and option being shouted out.
In many cases, everyday activities such as buying groceries and booking travel are near impossible. But the internet offers lifechanging opportunities for visually impaired young people. That’s why RLSB is trying to change things through a groundbreaking, project aiming to develop a way that visually impaired people can literally have a conversation with the internet.
RLSB wants to work with a technology partner to develop a voice-enabled tool for browsing the web. This will work through a ‘conversation’ between the computer and its user, where people can ask about the web page and receive tailored answers and suggested actions: “Computer – please find me a job website.”
And the computer says…”Ok – I’ve found a job site. What type of job are you looking for?”
Making a start, RLSB brought together the world’s leading technology companies, including IBM, Samsung, Cisco and Google, respected academics, other charities and beneficiaries to discuss the idea. The idea hit home and two leading global brands have since come forward to discuss how we can work together to research the idea and develop a prototype.
It’s an unbelievably exciting step forward. And hopefully, with the input of blind and partially sighted computer users, leading experts in voice technology and big businesses with resources, RLSB will enable blind people to have unlimited access to the web.
If you would like to know more or contribute to the project, please visit www.rlsb.org.uk/conversational_internet