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CBBC Accessible Newsreader

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Vaughan | 10:27 UK time, Wednesday, 27 May 2009

CBBC has just launched its Accessible Newsreader service - an alternative interface to the Newsround website. It's been created to help fill the gap in good quality content available on the web for older disabled children or teenager who use computers operated by switches,

The CBBC team behind the Newsreader worked closely with industry experts and special needs schools to produce a greatly simplified interface, which is capable of being controlled by a single switch.

Being able to do this kind of thing on a standard website using only a regular internet browser, rather than by downloading a dedicated piece of software, is an exciting development, according to Ian Hamilton, a senior designer in the CBBC Online team. Hopefully, it's something that'll be carried across to other sites, too.

As well as complex motor disabilities the Accessible Newsreader caters for other needs too, with features such as full speech synthesis for the menus and stories, and fully configurable fonts and colour schemes. There have already been some interesting findings during CBBC's teating, in particular with users on the autistic spectrum, who found the site especially usable due to its combination of a simple interface, simultaneous text and audio, and the content itself having a strong link to the real world.

This is the first phase of the project, with more functionality is due to be added in, so check out the site and give them your feedback..

• You can read much more about the Accessible Newsreader project and how it was developed in an entry by Jonathan Hassell, the BBC's Head of Audience Experience & Accessibility, on the BBC Internet Blog.

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