We are interested in the problem of Web Accessibility. This area of research has often focused on body-disabled users trying to gain access to the web. In our case, we are looking at content access challenges which emerge due to users coming from diverse cultures, speaking different languages, having different thought patterns etc. Such users may be able to read, write and speak in English, but it may not be their native tongue. Or, the content may be written in a manner that requires some pre-knowledge on the topic which the users may be lacking. Or, the content may have some technical jargon, abbreviations which may forbid a novice user from making sense out it. In all these cases, the user is not body-disabled. Nor is she English illiterate. It is just that the user may be a non-native English speaker with different cultural background, and having different thinking styles, levels and preferences.
We believe that in such accessibility challenged cases, it may help to renarrate the already published web content to suit the needs of such neglected communities of users. By renarration we mean that an alternative representation of the original content can be created and presented to the challenged user. The alternative views can be many - each designed to cater to their own community of otherwise challenged users. In one alternative representation of the original source, we could just add more explanations to the content in the user's vernacular; in another variant of the original source, only abbreviations could be elaborated; in yet another variation, more external references can be added or new relationship to more detailed explanation of the content can be provided. All these are renarrations - a single source contributing to multiple, alternate representations.
We approach this problem of renarration of the web from the point of view of Web Technologies. In our research, we are seeking ways and means to facilitate the creation, management and access of renarrations of existing, already published web content. For this our research goals are:
1)What structures and architectures are required to semantically transform an already published HTML web content?
2) Which automatic or manual methods can be availed to overlay a human-semantic structure on top of existing HTML pages which are under somebody else’s ownership and control?
3) Where and how to persist and serve appropriate versions of various semantic transformations to earmarked users who meet some preset criteria for viewing? And,
4) How to create a navigable association between an earmarked user community and its related semantic transformation?
Through this research we aim to develop our own notion of Semantic Style Sheets which will help us structure and transform the original source. We expect an agent (initially human, which later can be automated) to facilitate in this structuring and transforming of the source to its variant. Our work will involve working with structuring HTML content (perhaps using grammars, hierarchical graphs etc.) and later transforming them using notions of style sheets, tree transformations, graphical transformations etc. Our implementation will leverage the notion of Aspects, and as a novelty, will apply it to web content. At the end of our effort, we aim to build a prototype web application which will validate the approach we propose.