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Mada launches ATbar in Arabic – May 15,2012

AT bar
Mada (Qatar Assistive Technology Center) has released the Arabic version of “AT Bar,” a powerful open source tool that enables people with disabilities to access the internet and computers with greater access.

The Arabic version of the product was developed as part of a joint project between Mada (Qatar Assistive Technology Center) and University of Southampton in the UK, and will be made available through the Mada website to Arabic speakers around the world.

Mrs. E.A. Draffan, Assistive Technology Research Fellow at the University of Southampton, who attended the launch ceremony in Qatar, said, “We chose to develop tools to support Arabic speakers as a result of the questions and observations we received from Arabic speaking students at our own university. They helped us understand the challenges they faced, and naturally they were the same challenges people face in Qatar, and throughout the Arab speaking world. By working together with Mada, we were able to provide a tool that addressed some of the challenges by Arabic speakers with disabilities.”

Users with different disabilities can easily install the Arabic version of “AT Bar” into their web browsers and have the capabilities to change color contrast, use a screen reader, and activate other accessibility options. As well, the freely available product also comes with “AT Kit,” a tool that enables programmers to develop new features that can be easily added to the open source tool.

“At Mada, we work with Arabic speaking people with disabilities on a day to day basis, and I can assure you that having Arabic language Assistive Technology tools such ‘AT Bar’ is an invaluable asset,” said Ohood Ali Al Sheeb, an Assistive Technology Specialist at Mada (Qatar Assistive Technology Center.

The localization of Assistive Technologies has been a central part of Mada’s activities for the last year, and has included the release of “Clicker 5,” as well as the “FXC Software Series.” The Center will continue to work with Assistive Technology manufacturers and developers from around the world to develop accessibility solutions in the Arabic language.

“We are delighted to have worked on this project with the University of Southampton, and truly believe in the ability of an Arabic version of AT Bar to assist Arabic speakers with disabilities in accessing the benefits of Information and Communication Technology,” added David Banes, CEO of Mada (Qatar Assistive Technology Center).