Other shortlisted practices 2014

ATBar-Reading support on browsers

ATBar supports on all browsers through: text resizing; text and page style, colour and layout modification; word prediction; spellchecking; text to speech readout; and dictionary definitions. The program is available free of charge in English and Arabic.

“ATbar statistics have shown a constantly climbing usage pattern … it has been used on 160,000 different sites …”

About the practice at a glance
Name of Innovative Practice:ATBar
Organisation:University of Southampton
of origin
United Kingdom
Beneficiaries targeted Persons with reading difficulties
Approach/ model/ solution:cross browser web toolbar, improves accessibility, usability and productivity issues


  • 7.13 million uses of ATbar to date
  • ATbar at about 164.000 websites in many countries
  • Use for computers, tablets and smart phones
  • Used over 6.000.000 times


Some browsers offer limited ways to change the look and feel of websites and website owners can buy some limited and expensive solutions. The demand for a more comprehensive approach was covered by developing a freely available open source ‘toolbar’.


ATbar is an innovative cross browser web toolbar that enables accessibility, usability and productivity for students with disabilities [disabled students] and others. It supports individuals with reading difficulties who are surfing the web and do not have access to assistive technologies in a public place or on their own computers. ATkit, which enables people to build their own customised version of ATbar, has also been developed.


ATbar can be used by any University by installing a code on their website or it can be simply run by any user at anytime, anywhere, from any machine on any web page and browser by selecting it from the favourites/bookmarks. The toolbar overcomes the issues of ‘downloads’ on networks as users simply add the ATBar toolbar to their own browsers alongside any other plugins on any desktop operating system. Also an ATbar WordPress plugin is provided. ATbar continues to be maintained as an open source and free application in English and Arabic. It is hoped that many other languages will follow as translation files are now

ATBar-Reading support on browsers

Image of ATBAR explaining features



Mr. Mike WALD
University of Southampton,
University Road, SO171BJ Southampton

Nominated by the University of Southampton