Web Mediators for Accessible Browsing
Waber, Benjamin N.
Magee, John J.
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We present a highly accurate method for classifying web pages based on link percentage, which is the percentage of text characters that are parts of links normalized by the number of all text characters on a web page. K-means clustering is used to create unique thresholds to differentiate index pages and article pages on individual web sites. Index pages contain mostly links to articles and other indices, while article pages contain mostly text. We also present a novel link grouping algorithm using agglomerative hierarchical clustering that groups links in the same spatial neighborhood together while preserving link structure. Grouping allows users with severe disabilities to use a scan-based mechanism to tab through a web page and select items. In experiments, we saw up to a 40-fold reduction in the number of commands needed to click on a link with a scan-based interface, which shows that we can vastly improve the rate of communication for users with disabilities. We used web page classification and link grouping to alter web page display on an accessible web browser that we developed to make a usable browsing interface for users with disabilities. Our classification method consistently outperformed a baseline classifier even when using minimal data to generate article and index clusters, and achieved classification accuracy of 94.0% on web sites with well-formed or slightly malformed HTML, compared with 80.1% accuracy for the baseline classifier.