Firefox Add-on Helps Visually Impaired Surf Web

Visually impaired computer users have just been given a major improvement that will improve their ability to “see” web pages. Lighthouse International has recently announced that LowBrowse, an open-source extension to Mozilla Firefox, is the first software that will allow people with moderate to severe visual impairment to view webpages as was the site creators intended.

LowBrowse is a program allows visually impaired users to create their own preferences for font, text size, color contrast and letter spacing. Working with Mozilla Firefox under Windows, MacOS and Linux. Lighthouse International has announced that this will be available as an add-on for Firefox by early fall 2008.

Aries Arditi, senior fellow in vision science at Lighthouse International states “This technology enables all the text on a web site to be presented in the same readable format — size, color, font and spacing — regardless of which page is being viewed without having to navigate to the next line.”

While other programs help visually impaired and blind people people access the world wide web, LowBrowse is designed for individuals with some vision. It is a part of the research being conducted by Lighthouse International in designing interfaces for users with poor vision.

Funding for the project was provided by a grant from the National Eye Institute.