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Re: Visualisation rather than text

From: <karl.hebenstreit@gsa.gov>
Date: Wed, 25 Oct 2000 18:10:41 -0400
To: apembert@crosslink.net
cc: b.kelly@ukoln.ac.uk, w3c-wai-ig@w3.org
Message-ID: <OF568F96FD.ACF2B3E1-ON85256983.0060F425@gsa.gov>

Anne  & Brian -

I've been working with the Brain products (particularly the Personal Brain
client) for several months, and have been in discussions with the company
about addressing accessibility issues such as keyboard equivalents for web
navigation and associating graphics with keywords (thoughts).

Regarding the http://www.webbrain.com site, an important point to consider
is that when reviewing new technologies, we (the disability community) need
to evaluate the technology as independently as possible from specific
implementations.  In the case of Webbrain,  the technology issues are 1)
the scability of the product, which is providing an interface to the open
source directory project with over 300,000 categories and indexing over 3
million pages, and 2) the capacity to integrate with search engine
technologies.    My experience with the Webbrain site performance has been
positive, even when accessing the web via a modem.  The initial page takes
longer to load, but you can actually move through the keyword hierarchy
quite rapidly, finding the most relevant keyword for your inquiry before
the page even loads.

Regarding the underlying technology with respect to accessibility, I
believe this technology has tremendous potential for meeting needs of
people with some types and degrees of cognitive disabilities, since this
interface is based on an "associative computing interface" which can model
the way a person thinks about a particular task, or even the world from
their unique perspective.


I'll review the other visualization products that Brian mentioned, and
bring this issue up with contacts working in the visualization area.
Several of these contacts will be attending or presenting at two
Association for Computing Machinery (ACM) conferences that will be held
here in the Washington, DC area in November:

ASSETS 2000:   http://www.acm.org/sigcaph
Conference on Universal Usability:  http://www.acm.org/sigs/sigchi/cuu/

Karl Hebenstreit, Jr.
US General Services Administration
Office of Governmentwide Policy
E-mail:  Karl.Hebenstreit@gsa.gov

apembert@crosslink.net@w3.org on 10/25/2000 11:51:28 AM

Sent by:  w3c-wai-ig-request@w3.org

To:   "Brian Kelly" <b.kelly@ukoln.ac.uk>, w3c-wai-ig@w3.org

Subject:  Re: Visualisation rather than text

Hi, Brian,

Just checked out the webbrain.com and it will contribute nothing
towards meeting the needs of those who depend on vision and graphics.
The search engine was horribly slow, the links were only text, no
pictures, and it took almost 10 minutes to hitting dead ends to find
information on "kids" and "education" ... when found, the sites
offered were useless for kids' education, but were intended only for
adults and grad students or professionals. So, not only is the search
engine an exercise in futility, the sites it provides aren't worth
much either ... Much better results from the Altavista, Lycos and

On Wed, 25 Oct 2000 12:10:34 -0000
 Brian Kelly <lisbk@ukoln.ac.uk> wrote:
> I've recently come across Webbrain at http://www.webbrain.com/
> This provides a 3D visualisation of search categories (it provides
> a front
> end to the DMoz open source directory).
> In the light of recent discussions about the need for visualisation
> in
> certain areas and for certain categories of users, I wondered how
> this
> fitted in.
> The Windows (or Mac) desktop is another example of a graphical
> metaphor.
> A colleague of mine came across these other visualisation products
> --  the
> demos are site-specific rather than web-wide.
>     from Inxight:
> http://www.inxight.com/products_wb/table_lens_web/tl_web_demos.html
> Table Lens
> http://www.inxight.com/products_wb/ht_server/ht_server_demos.html
> Hyperbolic Tree (also see their own site map)
>     from Plumb Design:
> http://www.plumbdesign.com/projects/thinkmap.html
> about Thinkmap
> http://millennium.sonymusic.com/
> example on Sony site (clues: the expand "button" in the lower right
> corner
> is a toggle, the horizonal text line that builds up to the left of
> it allows
> you to return to places you have been)
> http://www.plumbdesign.com/thesaurus/
> kind of fun to play with
> Any thoughts on these types of services?
> ta
> brian
> --------------------------------------------------------------
> Brian Kelly
> University of Bath
> BA2 7AY
> Email: B.Kelly@ukoln.ac.uk
> Phone: (+44) 1225 323943

Anne Pemberton
Received on Wednesday, 25 October 2000 18:10:12 UTC

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