In past posts we discussed the significance of the recommendations regarding web accessibility (WCAG 2.0).
As we all know, far from being irrelevant, ensuring accessibility to the ‘Network of networks’ for more people is not only mandatory in many countries that have adopted the W3C recommendations, but it also makes good business sense. In these terms, this represents the difference between opening up websites to many more people, or limiting this access and overlooking a significant number of potential clients.
Still, the web of today has nothing to do with the web of the 1990s. Not everything is web-based, or reliant upon the same mark-up languages; today, it is common for people to talk about the INTERNET of things, of connected objects, telecare, assistive domotics and other related concepts.
All of these services are based on the use of dynamic platforms that can change in seconds and are accessed continuously.
The INTERNET culture in general and the fact that computers are simpler to use and easier to acquire has meant that more people are accessing this ‘Network of networks’.
We have also written about new solutions that are being developed to address the new challenges that face many users when trying to access the INTERNET of today, as opposed to the traditional Internet we used a decade ago, and the services and websites it now offers.
Today we’re going to discuss inSuit, which represents a new generation of cloud-based products that greatly facilitate communication between INTERNET users.
What is inSuit?
inSuit is a service that works from the cloud which significantly reinforces access to websites on which it is used.
Based on the accessibility rules for websites and using software that has been intelligently designed to filter content, inSuit alters the user’s interface, adapting it to the functional needs of each person.
How does it work?
Let’s imagine a well-structured website, which complies with the basic accessibility standards, a website that is easy to use and understandable for many people.
Now, sitting in front of the computer, let’s imagine users whose functional diversity impedes or makes it difficult for them to access the website in question.
Suppose, for example, that there is a person who cannot use the keyboard and instead needs to activate a scan mode to scan through options on their computer and a pushbutton to select them. Or imagine a person who finds it difficult to use the mouse due to mobility issues in their upper limbs. Think of people who have difficulty reading and who prefer to hear the content contained on the website they are visiting.
For these people in our examples, and for other groups, it would be quite difficult to navigate even in those websites, which, as I have mentioned earlier, meet the basic standards of accessibility and usability. Now, if the website in our example was using inSuit technology, the website owner would only need to activate it and a whole world of opportunities offered by this technology would be available to them immediately. The interface would change and all links and sections would be numbered. This would allow the user, using their voice, to quickly navigate to any element contained with the website.
Now if they require an on-screen keyboard with a scan function, inSuit displays its inSuit bar at the bottom of the screen, to configure this and other settings. All you need to do is activate that mode and the on-screen keyboard is displayed. In this mode, users will only need to click a single key or a button to select the option they need.
This same settings bar also allows users to activate the inSuit voice to have on-screen elements ‘read’ to them. This mode can be used to read an article to the user, for example.
As we stated earlier, inSuit technology is designed to receive voice commands through the computer’s microphone. This, along with the adapted interface that features numbered sections and links, means the user can use the voice command function and go to a specific part of the website in question –simply.
Since inSuit changes the format of the website where it is applied, giving it a more simplified structure, a blind person, for instance, who already uses their own system to read the screen, can disregard the voice and numbered links described above, but will still benefit from the website’s simplified structure. In this case, reading an online newspaper, for example, which is normally plagued with unnecessary information on either side of its articles becomes easier and simpler.
The above scenario is also quite useful for the elderly or those users that prefer to navigate in websites with simpler structures and find what they are looking for – the “nitty-gritty”– as quickly as possible.
Now if voice recognition is not an option because the user is unable to speak, the on-screen keyboard in scan mode in combination with a sip or a simple puff, can also be used. inSuit has integrated these options that serve as alternatives to the clicking or pushbutton device.
inSuit is able to store the user’s settings, which means they will only need to configure the software once.
None of the features mentioned above require any technical effort of any kind on the part of the owner of the website where inSuit will be used: the technicians at inSuit will only need to conduct a preliminary study of the website and then a simple script will be added to activate inSuit. This is all that is needed to offer a service at a fraction of the cost of traditional solutions, a service which is also profitable if we take into account the greater number of website visitors that can be reached.
inSuit is a cloud-based technology continuously open to further changes, seeking solutions to the new challenges posed by the INTERNET. As a result, this service will be updated continuously with any new implementations that the inSuit development team deems necessary.
It is also important to point out that other accessibility solutions require sophisticated hardware which is probably not affordable for most of us. inSuit is transparent and works from the cloud; all that is needed is a microphone and a multimedia computer (all computers sold today are of this type). The end user can enjoy the advantages of the system, free of charge, and does not need to install any special peripherals.
After seeing this product first-hand and testing it, and my more than 20 years of experience in the field of usability and accessibility solutions, I can confidently state that this new technology will soon revolutionise the way many people access the INTERNET.
Trying it out is effortless and I guarantee that you will be pleasantly surprised by what it can do – right from the start.