WWW2008 Refereed Papers - WWW 2008: Refereed Papers
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Refereed Papers

Track: Browsers and UI

Paper Title:
KeySurf: A Character Controlled Browser for People with Physical Disabilities


  • Leo Spalteholz(University of Victoria)
  • Kin Fun Li(University of Victoria)
  • Nigel Livingston(University of Victoria)
  • Foad Hamidi(University of Victoria)

For many users with a physical or motor disability, using a computer mouse or other pointing device to navigate the web is cumbersome or impossible due to problems with pointing accuracy. At the same time, web accessibility using a keyboard in major browsers is rudimentary, requiring many key presses to select links or other elements. We introduce KeySurf, a character controlled web navigation system which addresses this situation by presenting an interface which allows a user to activate any web page element with only two or three keystrokes. Through an implementation of a user-centric incremental search algorithm, elements are matched according to user expectation as characters are entered into the interface. We show how our interface can be integrated with a speech recognition input, as well as with specialized on-screen keyboards for people with disabilities. Using the user's browsing history, we improve the efficiency of the selection process and find potentially interesting page links for the user within the current web page. We present the results from a pilot study evaluating the performance of various components of our system.

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