Hanoian initiates user-friendly website for visually impaired

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A website designed for the convenience of visually impaired people has been launched early this year by a young lecturer of information technology in Hanoi with the help of many young friends.

The http://tamhonvietnam.net website lets visually impaired users interact with it through shortcuts, giving oral instructions when needed to facilitate their surfing.

Users can find news collected from other daily newswires, books, and other materials on the website, and also post their own articles and comments.

“In the future, the website will not only support the blind access information but also act as an open forum for them to connect together and bond as a community,” said Dinh Thanh Tung, vice chairman of Vietnam Blind People’s Association, which took over the website from Nguyen Thi Thu Trang and her group last month.

Trang, a lecturer at the Information and Communication Technology Institute under the Hanoi University of Technology, said the website was first initiated last May when she instructed a group of her students to implement a project to enter Microsoft’s “Imagine” competition.

While the project won the third prize at the contest challenging students to come up with technological solutions helping solve today problems, it wasn’t concretized until Trang wrote a specific plan later.

She then was contacted by Khuc Hai Van, a visual impaired man once honored for his contributions to IT, and Nguyen Thi Thu Ha from voluntary group Niem Tin. Together they started the project in August.

Trang said she also asked for help from volunteers on the Internet, and was able to recruit 61 as official members out of hundreds of applicants. Most of the members were students at high schools and universities in Hanoi.

They took turn in visiting centers of the blind to conduct surveys on the latter’s demands for reading, hunting for studios and preparing campaigns to promote the plan as well as calling for contributions from the community, Trang said.

Members were even willing to pay their own money for the project, she said, adding that the website was completed four months later.

Trang first became involved in matters involving visually impaired people in 2001 when she was a member of a volunteer group working to record audio books for the Cau Giay District Blind People’s Association. Later she had a chance to impart computer skills to visually impaired teachers.

“Only when I was close to and working with the blind could I realize how much they were disadvantaged,” she said.

“My biggest desire is do something to share part of the difficulties facing those who desire for light day and night.”

Source: Tuoi Tre

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