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justvanilla.com

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From: Lisa Halabi
Date: Jun 28, 2001 3:49PM


An interesting (UK) site recently launched below...(I have no connection
with it whatsoever).
http://www.justvanilla.com/cgibin/start/tpc/index.html
PRESS INFORMATION
> > 16th June 2001-For Immediate release
> > New and innovative web service to improve social inclusion for all users
> > of the www.
> >
> > JustVanilla Ltd. announces a new web service with unparalleled usabil=
ity
> > and accessibility features. Now, Internet users can have a web based,
> > rather than a browser based, ability to personalise the way in which =
web
> > content appears on their screens. For the first time users can store
their
> > preferences on the web creating freedom of movement. As a result, th=
e
www
> > can be made easier to use, faster, more inclusive and highly portable.
The
> > design aim, which focussed on simplicity, usability and ease of acces=
s,
> > will now allow new users of all ages and lifestyles to be able to acc=
ess
> > and use the www. The availability of this new service is one of the
> > greatest practical contributions to the issues of social inclusion an=
d
> > reduction of the 'digital divide'.
> >
> > Amongst the many that will benefit from the new service are:
> >
> > =B7 Those who use the Internet every day for work including teleworke=
rs,
> > students, school pupils, businesses, journalists and researchers.
> >
> > =B7 People whose use of the Internet is restricted by social disadvan=
tage
> > simply by outdated, or in many cases not having access to a computer.
> >
> > =B7 Those with disabilities such as visual impairment, dyslexia, lear=
ning
> > difficulties and reduced mobility.
> >
> > =B7 Carers, parents and professional support staff of people with
> > disabilities.
> >
> > =B7 People and businesses located in remote rural areas with poor
> > infrastructure and slow telecommunications services.
> >
> > =B7 The many elderly and other users to whom new technologies can see=
m
> > intimidating.
> >
> > There are over thirty (30) accessibility features incorporated into t=
he
> > service providing a choice of billions of combinations that may be
> > configured to meet the diverse requirements of Internet users. For
> > instance, over 40 colours (specially selected to provide a good range=
of
> > contrasts for those with colour vision impairment) can be applied to
> > screen background, text and hyperlinks in any combination. Font type =
can
> > be varied and size increased/decreased dynamically on screen. Extra
> > spacing can be inserted between words or even between individual lett=
ers
> > within words. Paragraphs can be indented, all text transformed into
> > capitals, and underlining removed from hyperlinks, which can also be
made
> > to glow. A narrow page option can be set, 'pop up' windows disabled, =
and
> > flashing text and animations removed. All these and many more feature=
s
> > give the user the power to control and adapt the appearance of any
> > information delivered to them. Once set, these preferences are
maintained
> > for future use whilst browsing the JustVanilla site. Furthermore, the=
y
can
> > then be applied to the contents of the entire Internet.
> >
> > The power of the JustVanilla service is further enhanced by an 'acces=
s
> > gateway' which can optionally strip out graphics from any website,
> > disable/enable frames, tables, scripts, and more. Virtually the entir=
e
> > contents of any web site can be delivered in text format at high spee=
d
> > with all the users preferences maintained. This 'access gateway',
although
> > designed specifically for blind and visually impaired users to
disentangle
> > complex web designs (which often prevent them from accessing and usin=
g
> > many websites) can also bring major benefits to other web users.
> >
> > Each JustVanilla user is allocated their own unique URL and four page=
s
> > containing 'default' bookmarks for home, work, learning and shopping
use.
> > These 'default' settings may be changed at any time to reflect their =
own
> > requirements and changing interests.
> >
> > A powerful Research Zone contains over 6000 important hyperlinks. The
Zone
> > supports new Internet users and focuses on sources of information and
> > tutorial support. Current affairs are a major focus and over 300 news
> > feeds are directly available. Searching the web is a major preoccupat=
ion
> > often denied to people with disabilities. With JustVanilla, access to
'the
> > Open Directory' is provided with results being returned in the user's
> > preferences. The popular Google search engine and Xrefer, the powerfu=
l
> > information cross referencing product, are also provided and can deli=
ver
> > results in the user's preferences through the 'access gateway'. Once
> > located any website can be viewed in the user preferences by going
through
> > the 'access gateway'
> >
> > The site also provides a comprehensive set of 'community features' su=
ch
as
> > web-based email, chat rooms, forum, classified advertisements,
tutorials,
> > and technical support. All these can be delivered according to the
user's
> > preferences. The designers believe that this will enable many to
> > participate for the first time in a truly open and equal environment
> > irrespective of their personal circumstances.
> >
> > Many people with a disability suffer considerably from reduced freedo=
m
of
> > movement. Portability has therefore featured prominently in the
designers'
> > minds. Because the JustVanilla service is web based the user's setti=
ngs
> > are always available to them wherever and whenever they access and us=
e
the
> > Internet e.g. from public libraries, Internet cafes and kiosks.
> >
> > Privacy and security also have played a significant part in the
> > development of the site; i.e. cookies are not used, and may not be
served
> > by third parties from our site. Access to chat and forums is availabl=
e
> > only to registered users under their actual registered user name for
which
> > we hold the physical address.
> >
> > The JustVanilla site has taken two years to develop. Throughout that
time
> > constant assessments have been carried out against the W3C accessibil=
ity
> > guidelines and the site is 'Bobby' approved. The JustVanilla design d=
oes
> > not slavishly follow standards, many of which are sadly not matched b=
y
> > browsers, but follows a strictly pragmatic solution. The site is very
> > accessible even to old browsers because features such as cookies, Jav=
a,
> > JavaScript, Flash, plug-ins etc, are not used.
> >
> > The site contains no banner adverts and is available on an individual
> > subscription basis. The Annual Subscription is =A319.95 and there is =
a
once
> > only =A320.00 set up fee. International subscribers will pay the same
rates
> > in their local currencies. In addition to revenue from subscriptions,
> > areas on the site are being offered for corporate sponsorship and a
> > shopping mall is planned for people with disabilities, which will be =
a
> > further source of revenue.
> >
> >
> >
> > The address of the site is http://www.justvanilla.com and it will ope=
n
to
> > the public from 1300 hrs GMT on Monday 25th June 2001.
> >
> > -Ends-
> >
>

Lisa Halabi
Senior Usability Consultant
Usability by Design Ltd. London
<EMAIL REMOVED>
http://www.UsabilityByDesign.com
Office: +44 (0)20 8938 6755
Mobile: +44 (0)7956 280 447
Fax: +44 (0)7092 080 153
[Opinions expressed are my own, not necessarily those of my employer]
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