Dr. Bolchini, interim department chair of Human-Centered Computing and assistant professor of Human-Computer Interaction (HCI) at the School of Informatics and Computing at IUPUI, recently received the prestigious Google Faculty Research Award. The Google Faculty Research Award is accompanied by a $44,252 grant that will support the study “Augmenting Screen-Reader Navigation by Linkless Dialogues” currently being conducted by Dr. Bolchini and HCI PhD candidate Prathik Gadde. The study investigates how the blind and visually impaired can interact with and navigate through complex websites in order to compensate for their lack of sight. The study will examine novel solutions that could make surfing the Web easier for visually challenged users.
“The blind user experience with the web is still very far from enjoyable”, says Dr. Bolchini. “There is so much more that we can do to make it, not just slightly better, but considerably more natural and desirable. Together with our stellar graduate students, we will explore strategies to help blind users understand where they are on a complex website, where they can go next from a page, or what to do to know more about a topic. This can make a significant difference in daily web navigation tasks”.
The work will leverage the 5-year collaboration with the Indiana School for the Blind and Visually Impaired. The study will build upon the research on ‘aural informatics’ in collaboration with professor Steve Mannheimer and Dr. Mathew Palakal in the Human-Centered Computing Department, which already counts a prior Google Research Award and two NSF-funded projects on web accessibility, non-speech sounds, and aural navigation.
Google Research Awards mission: Organize the world’s information and make it universally accessible and useful. As part of that vision, the Google Research Awards program aims to identify and support world-class, full-time faculty pursuing research in areas of mutual interest. (http://research.google.com/university/relations/research_awards.html)
This round, Google received 550 proposals from 50 countries. After expert reviews, 105 projects were selected for funding, with an acceptance rate of 19%.