While the word 'accessibility' seems to require a new definition in the context of making Web available in developing regions, we propose to expand the definition of 'Web' itself in the same context. The prevalent definition of Web as a system of interlinked textual documents available on the Internet and accessed through a web browser, needs to be modified to include new types of hyperlinked content and new access mechanisms. Spoken Web is emerging as an alternate web for the underprivileged by breaking barriers of illiteracy, affordability and local languages. It is envisioned as being complementary to the existing Web and navigable entirely through a voice based interface using an ordinary telephone. In this paper, we present Spoken Web Application Framework (SWAF) -- a framework for enabling creation of sites in Spoken Web through a simple voice interaction over an ordinary phone call. This unique novelty of SWAF provides an extremely simplified service creation ability using voice interaction rather than through programming by IT experts thus enabling a new software development paradigm. It is meant to be a platform for making the power of Web technologies become accessible to the next billion IT users of the world. We present the architecture, design and implementation of the SWAF framework.
"The majority of the mobile phone users in these countries use the speech interface to communicate rather than other features mainly because of the learning curve associated with text-based menu-driven applications . Technologies such as Spoken Web  have been invented to create channels of information to mobile phone users. Soon there will be applications such as job-search, medical doctor search and auctions on these platforms. "
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Designing interactive voice systems that have optimum cognitive load on callers has been an active research topic for quite some time. There have been many studies comparing the user preferences on navigation trees with higher depths over higher breadths. In this paper, we consider the navigation of structured data containing various types of attributes using phone-based interactions. This problem is particularly relevant to emerging economies in which innovative voice-based applications are being built to address semi-literate population. We address the problem of identifying the right sequence of facets to be presented to the user for phone-based navigation of the data in two stages. Firstly, we perform extensive user studies in the target population to understand the relation between the nature of facets (attributes) of the data and the cognitive load. Secondly, we propose an algorithm to design optimum navigation trees based on the inferences made in the first phase. We compare the proposed algorithm with the traditional facet generation algorithms with respect to various factors and discuss the optimality of the proposed algorithm.
Proceedings of the 21st ACM international conference on Information and knowledge management; 10/2012
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: This paper presents a web-based tool to supplement defense against security misconfiguration vulnerabilities in web applications. The tool automatically audits security configuration settings of server environments in web application development and deployment. It also offers features to automatically adjust security configuration settings and quantitatively rates level of safety for server environments before deploying web applications. Using the tool, we were able to evaluate eleven server packages for Apache, PHP and MySQL across three operating system platforms. Our evaluation revealed that the tool is able to audit current security configuration settings and alert users to fix the server environment to achieve the level of safety of security configuration with respect to recommended configurations for real-life web application deployment.
Availability, Reliability and Security (ARES), 2011 Sixth International Conference on; 09/2011
"In the broader scope of using ICTs to serve the underserved , the focus of much effort is on the " bottom of the pyramid " . Many recent ICTD projects have focused on constructing information portals or repositories for the illiterate and focus on challenges resulting from using voice as the communication and publication medium   . Typically , after such a system is constructed, locally generated content is the main source of information available. "
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: This paper presents a system for enabling offline web use to satisfy the information needs of disconnected communities. We describe the design, implementation, evaluation, and pilot deployment of an automated mechanism to construct Contextual Information Portals (CIPs). CIPs are large searchable information repositories of web pages tailored to the information needs of a target population. We combine an efficient classifier with a focused crawler to gather the web pages for the portal for any given topic. Given a set of topics of interest, our system constructs a CIP containing the most relevant pages from the web across these topics. Using several secondary school course syllabi, we demonstrate the effectiveness of our system for constructing CIPs for use as an education resource. We evaluate our system across several metrics: classification accuracy, crawl scalability, crawl accuracy and harvest rate. We describe the utility and usability of our system based on a preliminary deployment study at an after-school program in India, and also outline our ongoing larger-scale pilot deployment at five schools in Kenya.
Proceedings of the 20th International Conference on World Wide Web, WWW 2011, Hyderabad, India, March 28 - April 1, 2011 (Companion Volume); 01/2011
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