Free Web Browser Software Developed for People Who Are Visually Impaired

From Occupational Health and Safety

Lighthouse International, a leader in advocating accessibility for people with low vision, recently unveiled an innovative add-on software tool that will enable millions of people worldwide with low vision to access previously inaccessible web pages.

While existing programs enable blind people to access the Web effectively, LowBrowse™ is the first program to enable people with moderate or severe low vision to both view web pages as the original web author intended and read the text on those pages tailored to their own visual needs. The highly anticipated program, which runs in conjunction with the Mozilla Firefox browser, will be offered at no charge and is expected to be available to the public for download via the Firefox add-on site in late summer or early fall of 2008.

LowBrowse™ is part of a larger research project on low vision user interface design headed by Aries Arditi Ph.D., Senior Fellow in Vision Science at Lighthouse International, under a grant from the National Eye Institute. “This technology enables all the text on a website to be presented in the same readable format — size, color, font and spacing — regardless of which page is being viewed and without having to navigate to the next line,” said Arditi, a vision scientist and an expert in web accessibility. Arditi, who is the current president of the International Society of Low-Vision Research and Rehabilitation, has written more than 80 scientific publications about vision and is the author of Lighthouse International’s popular Color Contrast and Making Text Legible publications (available at www.lighthouse.org). Using open source technology, this browser add-on will be free to users through the Firefox Add-on site. It works with Windows, MacOS and Linux.

For more information about vision loss, contact Lighthouse International at 1-800-829-0500 or visit www.lighthouse.org.