Improving multimodal web accessibility for deaf people. Sign language interpreter module
Multimedia Tools and Applications
Year of publication
The World Wide Web is becoming increasingly necessary for everybody regardless of age, gender, culture, health and individual disabilities. Unfortunately, there are evidently still problems for some deaf and hard of hearing people trying to use certain web pages. These people require the translation of existing written information into their first language, which can be one of many sign languages. In previous technological solutions, the video window dominates the screen, interfering with the presentation and thereby distracting the general public, who have no need of a bilingual web site. One solution to this problem is the development of transparent sign language videos which appear on the screen on request. Therefore, we have designed and developed a system to enable the embedding of selective interactive elements into the original text in appropriate locations, which act as triggers for the video translation into sign language. When the short video clip terminates, the video window is automatically closed and the original web page is shown. In this way, the system significantly simplifies the expansion and availability of additional accessibility functions to web developers, as it preserves the original web page with the addition of a web layer of sign language video. Quantitative and qualitative evaluation has demonstrated that information presented through a transparent sign language video increases the users’ interest in the content of the material by interpreting terms, phrases or sentences, and therefore facilitates the understanding of the material and increases its usefulness for deaf people.