Applications and Tools, Collaboration, Second Life

IBM releases ARIA for the blind

Just a few weeks ago, IBM launched a prototype of its Virtual Worlds User Interface for the Blind, an “accessible rich Internet application” (ARIA) that will help blind people navigate and interact with Second Life, with the goal being to eventually branch out to other virtual worlds.

The user interface allows for blind users to “see” the virtual environment by sending text-based information to the user along with recorded verbal descriptions. Information on items in the virtual worlds is provided by sighted users, who annotate objects and locations for future use by the blind users. When a blind user comes across these annotated items, he can retrieve these notations.

In a world built on collaboration and creativity such as Second Life, the VWUIB seems appropriate, as it allows for yet another instance of original collaboration – this time, between sighted people and the blind.

A flowchart of the information architecture:


Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 3.0 Unported License.