What If The Internet Was Accessible To All? Cheyenne Gaima | March 17, 2021
Paul Chiou, a USC Viterbi Ph.D. student, seeks to reimagine technology for people with disabilities, sparked by a paralyzing car accident and a passion for computing.
Right click on an image in a web-browser and click “Inspect.”
Within the small chunk of HTML code that is highlighted lies an attribute called “alt text,” short for alternative text. Alternative text is typically read aloud by screen readers in place of images, allowing the contents of an image to be accessible to those with visual or certain cognitive disabilities, according to the non-profit organization Web Accessibility In Mind.
The alternative text attribute is among the growing list of web assistive technologies: tools and techniques that people with disabilities use to interact with the web. One of these users is Paul Chiou, a 36-year-old, third-year Ph.D. student in computer science at the USC Viterbi School of Engineering and a person living with quadriplegia.
He dreams of completely revolutionizing the web assistive space by innovating in these technologies.
“My ultimate dream is to create mainstream assistive technologies to offer people with disabilities [...]