Middleware for Ubiquitous Access to Mathematical Expressions for Visually-Impaired Users

A. Awdé, M. D. Hina, C. Tadj, Y. Bellik, A. Ramdane-Chérif

Providing visually-impaired users with ubiquitous access to mathematical expressions is a challenging task. Our research investigation indicates that most, if not all, of the current state-of-the art systems and solutions for presentation of mathematical expressions to visually-impaired users are generally not pervasive, that they do not take into account the user’s interaction context (i.e. combined contexts of the user, his environment and his computing system) into their system’s configuration and that they present mathematical expressions in only one format. We address these weaknesses by providing a middleware that provides a ubiquitous access to mathematical expressions. Our middleware gathers various suppliers in which one supplier is selected based on its suitability to the given instance of interaction context and of the user’s preferences. The configuration of the chosen supplier, including its quality of service (QoS) dimensions, is also adaptive to the user’s preferences. This paper presents the challenges in designing this middleware and our proposed solutions to each of these challenges. This paper discusses the concepts and principles applied on the middleware design as well as their validation through case studies and formal specification. This is our contribution to the ongoing research to make informatics accessible to handicapped users, specifically providing them ubiquitous access to mathematical expressions.