Enabling Technology


A conduit Firefox extension to allow webpage HTML to be pushed to industry-leading Braille translation software packages for reading, editing, or printing. This will allow an efficient and streamlined approach for users with a need for Braille translation of a webpage to print and read a site. I intend to include as many popular packages as possible with additional support for custom commands to allow greater accessibility to the extension.

What will this require?

To complete this project a number of steps will have to be accomplished. Initial work will be consist of research on the current market of Braille packages. I will need to identify and target as many of the most widely used applications to ensure the greatest possible audience. I intend to work with Aaron Leventhal, to leverage his knowledge, to unsure proper market coverage. Secondly, this will require a crash course in XUL, JavaScript, and the aforementioned applications. I will need to contact vendors to ask for command line support for there applications in many cases, if the documentation or current configurations omit command line support.

Who will this help?

As stated, this extension would be intended to help the Blind community. By allowing streamlined interface between the HTML documents and translation software, web pages will become more efficient to access for a person who needs Braille text. For instance, teachers will be able to pull literature off the Internet for students. This is just one way to make the Internet’s information more easily accessible to the Blind community.

Who is to Guide my Work?

I intend to work closely with Aaron Leventhal of Mozilla Accessibility fame. He has previously worked with Duxbury, makers of MegaDots, the most widely used text-to-Braille software. Now he is in deep with Mozilla Accessibility. Therefore, I intend to use his expertise to guide my progress and resolve industry and disability related questions.

Some Assembly Required

Financially speaking, the wonderful aspect of Open Source Software is its price tag. I will need nothing from the software front am coding, testing and building the extension on my home server. Furthermore, many of the translation software packages either are free (OSS) or will allow a user to download a demo. Therefore I will need no software of cost. It would be nice to be granted access to an embosser to see my product fulfill its potential but that will require locating a willing owner to allow my use.

Bumps in the Road

Currently my greatest struggle has been getting up to speed on JavaScript. I have my development environment constructed, build scripts coded, and a number demo or free translation packages downloaded. Therefore, all that remains is to actually do the coding. I have complied a working shell of the extension, so now it remains for me to fill in the blanks of the code.

Are We There, Yet?

To show that I am successful with this project I hope to distribute my extension via online channels, word-of-mouth, and appropriate mediums with hope of successful feedback from users. The proof of concept is simple to accomplish, but true success will be in the opinion of actual users. The reported success will steer the continued development and support of the extension.