IDRC - Celebrating 25 Years

1993 - 2018

Continuing Our Work During COVID-19

Read the letter regarding COVID-19 by IDRC Director, Jutta Treviranus.

Supports for complying with the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act (AODA)

How do I make my web site accessible? How do I make my office documents accessible? How do I make information available in alternative formats? Businesses and organizations read our AODA Help.

RT @CoLabCoOp: What better way to spend your Thursday than with @Benetech @idrc_ocadu and us? Exploring how to shift power in tech through…
FluidProject RT @colinbdclark: Join us at the PPIG 2020 workshop hosted by @idrc_ocadu in Toronto to explore the margins of programming. Who has agency…

The ATRC is making Web 2.0 and the next-generation of web applications accessible. We are working with IBM, SitePen, W3C, the Dojo Foundation, and the open source community to build accessibility into the Dojo tookit, one of the leading libraries used to build rich, dynamic Web 2.0 applications. This work will enable developers building the next-generation of innovative web applications to build sites that are useable by everyone. Our work has been made possible by grants from the Mozilla Foundation and IBM.

This preliminary study, completed in 1999, evaluated Courseware Products for their support of accessible design and access to persons with disabilities.

The Centre for Academic and Adaptive Technology (CAAT)  advocates for the inclusion of access hooks in subsequent standards so information presented in a VRML environment can be accessable

The purpose of this study was to identify key areas of need for professional development services among educators who work with students with disabilities.

The ATRC played an active consultation role in the design of an accessible HTML authoring tool.

The ATRC designed an information kiosk that is accessible to users with disabilities. The accessible kiosk was implemented and tested in Robarts Library, at the University of Toronto.

The aim of this project is to design and test an adaptive predictive function palette, which will allow users to bypass the menu and submenu selection process.

The overall purpose of this project is to make the World Wide Web and electronically published information more accessible to people with disabilities. This will be achieved by targeting both the browser and the authoring tools used to create electronic files


  • obtaining an overview and determining the structure of the document,
  • orienting and moving to desired sections of the document or interface, and
  • obtaining translations of graphically presented information (i.e.,animation, video, graphics).

New Contract Between the Adaptive Technology Resource Centre and the Public Service Commission

For Immediate Release
Thursday, March 28, 1996


Linda Petty, Assistant Manager
Adaptive Technology Resource Centre
(416) 978-0734
This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Toronto -- The Adaptive Technology Resource Centre recently negotiated a contract to partner with the Diversity Management Directorate (DMD) of the Federal Public Service Commission on exploring the usage of World Wide Web (WWWWWW using identified adaptive technologies in conjunction with a representative sample of WWW browsers.

The results of this examination will be documented in the form of a final research report, as well as a practical on-line "How To" tool designed to provide users with disabilities with information and choices on accessing the WWW using adaptive technology. Finally, results will also be distributed to users, and adaptive technology and browser developers and manufacturers via the WWW and other mechanisms.

Specifically, the ATRC will:

  • document the strengths and weaknesses in controlling browser functions using various types of access technologies and various identified browsers
  • document what necessary customizations various pieces of adaptive technology require in order for them to work the most effectively with the identified web browsers
  • inform the manufacturers of each piece of adaptive technology tested of the results of the research on their product, encouraging their feedback, and making any necessary modifications before finalizing results
  • prepare a final report explaining what tools were used, what methodology, what results were found, and what customizations will be of most help
  • summarize the research results in a set of "How To" guidelines targeted to users with disabilities
  • deliver the testing form(s), research report and "How To" guidelines as products that can be converted into HTML for posting on the WWW for access by consumers, researchers and developers
  • along with the DMD, provide the browser and alternative access product developers with these results, highlighting product areas that might be changed to improve accessibility

In awarding the sole source contract to the ATRC, the DMD gave the following rationale:

"The Diversity Management Directorate believes the Adaptive Technology Resource Centre (ATRC) at the University of Toronto possesses a rare combination of skills and experience that uniquely qualifies it for an adaptive technologies/web browsers evaluation project. This project demands the contractor to evaluate various types of adaptive computer technologies with representative World Wide Web browsers. The ATRC has a wide range of experience in the subject areas of:
  • adaptive computer technologies,
  • accessibility to the World Wide Web (WWW) for persons with disabilities, and
  • providing accommodations for persons with disabilities.
The Centre is also on the leading edge of enabling the WWW for persons with disabilities through its development of a WWW browser that is fully accessible.The ATRC already has many of the tools this project demands including various types of adaptive technologies and web browsers. It has a facility that can accommodate this combination of technologies easily. It has experienced and professional staff who are able to complete the work, and a base of computer users with disabilities who can perform some testing and provide results to the project. In summary, DMDATRC has the expertise, tools and resources that are uniquely available for this project, and are not to be found elsewhere." believes that the

This contract was envisioned following discussion with Peter Field of the Diversity Management Directorate in early January, 1996. Peter presented with Linda Petty, Assistant Manager of the ATRC, at an Internet World pre-conference workshop. A tour of the ATRC and a meeting there with Jutta Treviranus, ATRC Manager, and Linda Petty followed the workshop, and led to the plan to contract the ATRC for work needed on the DMD Internet Pilot Project.

This project makes VRML courseware accessible to students with disabilities, thereby providing a cost effective, flexible and powerful method of teaching spatially and graphically based curriculum to students who are blind, or students who require tactile input in orderto process new concepts.

Adding Feeling, Audio and Equal Access to Distance Education

A CANARIE HEN'97 undertaking, in collaboration with:

Presently, Internet or Intranet delivered curriculum does not simulatethe experience of touching and manipulating objects or environments (referredto as 'haptics'). This restricts the number of subjects which can be effectivelytaught, and the types of students who can access the curriculum. This educationalproject endeavors to develop software applications which will make it possibleto deliver curriculum which can be touched, manipulated and heard overthe Internet or an Intranet. Both the necessary software tools and exemplarycurriculum modules will be developed. Developments will be based upon theISO standard for 3D web graphics - VRML (Virtual Reality Modeling Language),and a haptic API developed by Haptics Technology Inc.

The project is innovative in that it will add haptic and multimodalcapabilities to VRML. This project will make VRML courseware accessibleto students with disabilities, thereby providing a cost effective, flexibleand powerful method of teaching spatially and graphically based curriculumto students who are blind, or students who require tactile input in orderto process new concepts. The project will also provide risk free learningenvironments for students learning manual skills (e.g. physical therapy)or skilled trades.

A paper on this topic was presented at CSUN 1999.

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