Anand Chowdhary, Co-founder of Oswald Foundation, shares his experience with YourStory.
“Two months before I was born, in October 1997, W3C announced WAI, an initiative to add web functionality for people with disabilities. The founder of W3C and inventor of the Web, Tim Berners-Lee, said, ‘The power of the Web is in its universality. Access by everyone, regardless of disability, is an essential aspect.’”
The web has always been accessible. Browsers have had zoom and font customisation features from the start. Still, somewhere, Anand felt that it lacked in inclusiveness, remaining untouched by a huge section of society.
Taking the clock back to August 15, 2016, Oswald Foundation found its way into the world, born with the aim of making technology accessible to everyone, regardless of disability, literacy, age, or financial barriers. To make the web what it stood for.
A web reading app specially designed for people with dyslexia, learning disabilities, visual impairment and even senior citizens has been developed by two Indian teenagers. The app, called Oswald, allows users to customize how web pages will look in their browser. It can be downloaded for free in the Chrome web store.
Oswald was created by 18-year-old Anand Chowdhary and 15-year-old Nishant Gadihoke in June. Chowdhary had the initial idea, which he shared do Gadihoke and they developed Oswald during the Delhi AngelHack Hackathon for its Code 4 Impact Challenge. The original idea, as they relayed in an interview with AngelHack, was to develop an app for dyslexics alone.
Ever wondered how difficult would it be to read online, if words were dancing around the screen? For people with Dyslexia, it is an everyday struggle. But two teenagers from Delhi, want to help them.
Meet Anand Chowdhary and Nishant Gadihoke. These brilliant teenagers from Delhi have created an app called Oswald, that helps people with Dyslexia, visual impairment and learning disabilities to browse the web easily.
How did this idea come to these teenagers? In an interview with Scoopwhoop, this is what Anand had to say, “I realised that many of us, designers and developers, never account for the 15% of the population with disabilities. Our websites and apps don’t have features to allow people with learning disorders or visual impairment on how to use them. When Nishant and I participated in AngelHack, the largest hackathon competition, we decided to build an app to solve this problem.”
Delhi-based teenagers Anand Chowdhary and Nishant Gadihoke have been freelancing as web designers for a few years now. They design and develop websites for clients, individually and as a team. Recently, however, Anand was struck by a new and innovative thought that changed the way he looked at website design.
“All these years I was just making good websites – they were functional and pretty. But I was ignoring a certain section of the population – those living with disabilities and senior citizens who often find it difficult to read. However, it is not practical to add accessibility features on every website individually. So I came up with the idea of developing a Chrome extension that would help everyone access content on the web,” says the 18-year-old.
“Changing the world by changing the World Wide Web.” — Aashmita Nayar
Two months ago, 18-year-old Anand Chowdhary and 15-year-old Nishant Gadihoke decided to take this problem head on. The Delhi-based teenagers created an app called Oswald, that helps people with dyslexia, visual impairment, and learning disorders to browse the web easily. Gadihoke and Chowdhary teamed up while studying at the Mother’s International School. “We would work on projects as part of our school’s computer club MNET, and have been designing and developing websites and apps for numerous organisations including Google, and the government,” said Chowdhary in an interview with HuffPost India.
Days after Chowdhary came up with the idea to develop Oswald, the duo participated in AngelHack, a large hackathon competition for web developers and entrepreneurs. “It served as an ideal platform to develop our idea,” said Chowdhary. “The AngelHack competition was for 36 hours, which meant an entire weekend of no sleep, loads of coffee and Red Bull.” At 7:00 am on Sunday, 12 June, Oswald was published on the Chrome Web Store, and won Chowdhary and Gadihoke the Code4Impact Challenge in the competition.
Delhi teenagers Anand Chowdhary and Nishant Gadihoke, have developed a web tool that can help people with dyslexia and visual impairments access the internet. The extension named ‘Oswald’ is based on a research study about fonts and how they impact readability. “Every new Oswald user has the option to choose his/her disability or preference to customise the experience,” says Anand.
Two teenage boys from Delhi, Anand Chowdhary, 18, and Nishant Gadihoke, 15, have developed an app called ‘Oswald’ that helps people with dyslexia, visual impairment and other disabilities browse the internet. Based on the specifications provided by the British Dyslexia Association and the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) for dyslexic users, the app automatically corrects typography, contrast ratios and other visual elements on any webpage.
“One day, the entire web will be accessible to everyone,” said Anand, who firmly believes that accessibility and equality should be the fundamental principles of web browsing.
Our first annual Code 4 Impact challenge during AngelHack’s 9th Global Hackathon Series is well underway! With more than 34 projects submitted, we’re thrilled to see our community using their skills for good!! Check out the latest from team Oswald for Chrome, who created an app that helps people with learning disabilities, the visually impaired, and senior citizens to access the web. Even more inspiring? The app was created by two teenagers from Delhi who are just getting started!