Sinter: Low-bandwidth remote access for the visually-impaired

Syed Masum Billah, Donald E. Porter, I. V. Ramakrishnan

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution

10 Scopus citations


Computer users commonly use applications designed for different operating systems (OSes). For instance, a Mac user may access a cloud-based Windows remote desktop to run an application required for her job. Current remote access protocols do not work well with screen readers, creating a disproportionate burden for users with visual impairments. These users' productivity depends on features of a specific screen reader, and readers are locked-in to a specific OS. The only current option is to run a different screen reader on each platform, which harms productivity. This paper describes a framework, called Sinter, that efficiently and seamlessly supports remote, cross-platform screen reading, without modifying the application or the screen reader. Sinter addresses these problems with a platform-independent intermediate representation (IR) of a remote application's user interface (UI). The Sinter IR encapsulates platform-specific accessibility code on the remote system, facilitates development of additional accessibility features, and is simple enough to be reconstructed and read on any client platform. In the example above, Sinter allows a Maconly reader to read remote Windows applications. Sinter supports low-bandwidth, remote access to a wide range of applications, including Microsoft Word and Apple Mail, with both Windows and OS X clients and servers, as well as a web browser client. Sinter's IR-level programming model facilitates development of accessibility features and other enhancements, transparently to the remote application and reader. Sinter's latency is low enough for practical use, even over a relatively slow network connection.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationProceedings of the 11th European Conference on Computer Systems, EuroSys 2016
PublisherAssociation for Computing Machinery, Inc
ISBN (Electronic)9781450342407
StatePublished - Apr 18 2016
Event11th European Conference on Computer Systems, EuroSys 2016 - London, United Kingdom
Duration: Apr 18 2016Apr 21 2016

Publication series

NameProceedings of the 11th European Conference on Computer Systems, EuroSys 2016


Other11th European Conference on Computer Systems, EuroSys 2016
Country/TerritoryUnited Kingdom

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Information Systems
  • Computer Networks and Communications
  • Hardware and Architecture
  • Software


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