IBM Researchers Simplify Mobile Web Browsing

By Darryl K. Taft  |  Posted 2009-10-26

IBM has announced that a team of IBM researchers has created technology that makes it simpler for Webmasters to make their Websites more readable on mobile devices.

The technology, initially developed as an accessibility feature aimed at visually impaired users, helps to reduce the burdensome scrolling through out-of-order text and graphics, IBM research officials said.

To help Webmasters of all skill levels, IBM researchers in Tokyo developed a visual editor technology that enables Webmasters to arrange their Website content reading flow in a logically ordered sequence-without changing the existing content-that can be easily read on small, mobile devices' screens.

Moreover, the editing tool can improve the browsing experience for visually impaired Web surfers who use voice browsers to read Web content, IBM said.

The visual editor uses arrows to show in what order voice browsers would present content. And to edit the reading flow, Webmasters need only drag, drop and rearrange the arrows, the company said. This is an improvement over more cumbersome methods, such as using voice browsers to check reading flow line by line, and requiring Webmasters to copy and paste large amounts of content to a memo pad to check reading flow, IBM said.

In addition to Web pages, the tool can be applied to electronic presentations, PDF documents and Flash content to improve their contextual reading flow.

Global mobile subscriptions are expected to reach 4.6 billion by the end of the year, according to the International Telecommunication Union. Meanwhile, IBM Research is making a five-year, $100 million investment to advance mobile services and capabilities for businesses and consumers worldwide. Through this effort, IBM is aiming to drive new intelligence into the underpinnings of the mobile Web to create new efficiencies in business operations and people's daily lives.

IBM plans to make the tool available through the Social Accessibility research project, where people can come together to improve Web accessibility, the company said.

For more information about IBM's mobile Web initiative, click here.

Rocket Fuel