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Part 2 - Telecommunications Problems and Design Strategies for People with Cognitive Disabilities

From: Lisa Seeman <seeman@netvision.net.il>
Date: Mon, 03 Dec 2001 11:11:02 -0800
To: "_W3C-WAI Web Content Access. Guidelines List" <w3c-wai-gl@w3.org>
Message-id: <020101c17c2e$4115eba0$7692003e@dev1>

More highlights from Telecommunications Problems and Design Strategies for People with Cognitive 
Annotated Bibliography and Research Recommendations by Ellen Francik, Ph.D.


In this email are points that practically interest me, in view of recent discussions.

formatting in mine and anything in a <Lisa comment>.

And now to the main .... part 2:

<Lisa comment>I find this a "holistic" approach to accessibility, It may be better then checkpoints.... </Lisa comment>

" First, assay individual differences. Find out which ones correlate with performance on the chosen task. Many plausible factors may
be irrelevant. Egan and Gomez found that only age and spatial memory mattered for the text editors they studied; education,

typing speed, verbal aptitude, job experience, associative memory, and logical reasoning had no effect on performance.

Second, isolate task components. Do a task analysis and determine which components individual differences affect. This is admittedly

an art. Egan and Gomez verified their analysis by creating new tasks with the same components and obtaining the same pattern of

correlations, but this additional test is impractical for design teams.

Third, accommodate the differences by redesigning the interface to minimize performance differences. Measure user performance

again. Egan and Gomez compared a line editor to a newer display editor. The newer design simplified command syntax, reducing age

differences in performance, but the changes related to spatial memory ability were mixed (and cancelled each other out).

<Lisa comment> This one is a list of steps to achieve the above</Lisa comment>

<Lisa comment> identify:</Lisa comment>
  a..  Distinct groups of people with cognitive disabilities.
  b..  Real-world tasks or functions with which these various user groups have difficulty.
  c..  Underlying cognitive factors creating those difficulties.
  d..  Specific design changes that compensate for the cognitive deficits and improve task performance.

<Lisa comment> This I think is an interesting quote, and could be adopted or at least remembered by our group</Lisa comment>
The EITAAC report (1999) is notable for two things. First, it

contains some technology-specific standards and implementation

details. Second, it sets an accessibility goal. A person with a

disability should be able to "perform the same tasks, access the

same information, with the same approximate ease and in the same

approximate time and at the same cost" as someone without a


<Lisa comment> for the discussion on checkpoints and conformance</Lisa comment>

some of the strategies are a matter of degree. Without some

form of user testing or human performance modeling, a designer

would not know to what extent people with cognitive disabilities

actually benefit from overly generalized suggestions such as: "use

simple screen layouts," "keep language as simple as possible,"

"reduce the number of choices."

Re-use familiar, well-learned organizational schemes.

In fact, a designer might use several strategies, even measurable

ones, yet miss the combination that makes the product accessible

to people with particular cognitive disabilities. Verifying accessibility

depends on knowing the characteristics of distinct user groups, and assessing their performance with the complete product.

All the best,

Lisa Seeman

1866 654 8680
Widen the World Web
Received on Monday, 3 December 2001 04:14:00 UTC

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