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Cognitive Issues and the Web - Purpose

From: Chuck Hitchcock <chitchcock@cast.org>
Date: Sun, 9 Apr 2000 12:05:19 -0400
To: "WAI GL" <w3c-wai-gl@w3.org>
Message-ID: <NDBBLDFEGLNOMJEDCGPPCEPBEEAA.chitchcock@cast.org>
I wanted to make one additional point with regard to cognitive disabilities
and a suggestion.  Apologies in advance to those who find this all far too

It's not just that content and tools need to work together to support the
individual but we must also consider:
1. The purpose or intent of the page author, and
2. the purpose or intent of the page/site visitor (reader, learner, etc.).

Otherwise, it is impossible to measure the importance of various cognitive
style and ability differences.  Since this is all likely to become quite
complex, I would suggest beginning with a simple approach.  Using CAST's UDL
framework, I am attempting to categorize some of the key cognitive topics.
This needs more work but I think I should put something out there.  As the
discussion with iconic representations shows, this work will not be easy and
great caution must be exercised lest these efforts are seen by others as
extreme or goofy.

My suggestion is to take a list of cognitive topics and attempt to agree on
a few that are likely to create the most significant barriers for the
greatest number of users.  This may require a bit of guesswork but I suspect
that stepping back from the details of one approach or issue may prove


Chuck Hitchcock
Chief Education Technology Officer, and
Director, National Center on
Accessing the General Curriculum,
CAST, Inc.,
39 Cross Street, Peabody, MA 01960
Email chitchcock@cast.org
Voice +1 978-531-8555 x233
TTY   +1 978-531-3110
Fax   +1 978-531-0192
Received on Sunday, 9 April 2000 12:06:42 UTC

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