Aussie boy Huey inspires internet accessibility for all

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Friday, 5 September 2014 10:53am

At age four, Huey Springer became ill with a life-threatening condition which doctors identified as a result of head fluid build-up, requiring numerous trips to the hospital and major surgery.

Hueyify logo

The boy survived, but excessive pressure from the condition caused damage to Huey’s optical nerves, resulting in loss of sight in both eyes. After becoming legally blind, Huey was able to transition from reading and writing to learning a new form of Braille and utilising accessible technology quickly, but this did not occur without trials and frustrations during the learning process.

Four years later, Huey was browsing the internet when he got stuck on an inaccessible webpage filled with content and images. Huey suggested to his father Kenneth an idea about how the internet could be made accessible: what if he had the ability to control, categorise, filter and select just the information he requires?

Kenneth, an experienced software engineer, found time to investigate his son’s idea and corresponded with other internet users to discover how to create a better, accessible online experience for everyone.

With this information and with Huey’s idea, the next two years gave birth to Hueyify, a free tool enabling internet users to control information on-screen within a web browser of their choice. Using the tool, users can delete and annotate content, or modify colours; styles and page layouts based on their preferences, supporting online users with blindness, autism or learning difficulties.

Thanks to Huey and his father, The Hueyify Project is gaining momentum and aims to grow from its current conceptual stage into a final developed software and service. Hueyify will be presented at the South Pacific Education in Vision Impairment (SPEVI) conference in January 2015.

For more information on web accessibility, our online media page contains further details on web browsers, social media, mobile app reviews, policy and more.

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