The first version of the Able to Include Accessibility Layer is now available as an Application for Smartphones or Tablets. This will enable people with intellectual and developmental disabilities to access the most popular social media applications, such as Facebook, Twitter and WhatsApp, by helping them simplify text, having it read for them, or having the ability to translated text into pictograms. The Accessibility Layer application also forms the basis of the Able to Include pilot focused on “Leisure within the Information Society,” which will run in Belgium, Spain and the United Kingdom over the coming months.
How does it work?
Users need to simply click on the Accessibility Layer App on their smartphone or tablet, and then select their preferred social media application, such as Facebook. Facebook will then run as usual, but when users click a block of text on the screen, a focus frame highlights that text, and a Service Strip of 3 buttons appears. The user can then select from the three services offered:
- The simplification of text, and conversion to an easy-to-read format
- The translation of text into pictogram
- A spoken version of that text.
The Able to Include Accessibility Layer application has been developed based on a web view of the Social Media Applications. It is an extension to open source framework standards. The first version is focused on the Android platform, but its open framework means Apple and Windows versions of the Accessibility Layer App will be made available on those platforms in due course, and include all upgrades and improvements that are implemented during the pilot phase.
To ensure that people with intellectual disabilities are not only able to use social media, but do so in a safe manner, users of the Accessibility Layer application will receive a short training on data protection, through a series of short, accessible videos developed in the SafeSurfing project.
The Accessibility Layer application was recently presented at the ICT2015 conference in Lisbon, Portugal, to very positive reviews.