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Fw: accessibility for cognitive disabilities

From: Lisa Seeman <seeman@netvision.net.il>
Date: Wed, 13 Feb 2002 18:29:09 -0800
To: "_W3C-WAI Web Content Access. Guidelines List" <w3c-wai-gl@w3.org>
Message-id: <02af01c1b4ff$62657140$b991003e@dev1>
Just to keep everyone in the loop and report, I have forwarded the last draft of 3.3 to a few people who know more about the topic then I do. They have promised to get back to me.

I am attaching one of the replies.

Also I have read some other documents and policies about writing for the cognitive disabled but I only reported ones that had something "new". Is that Ok, or do people want more stuff to wade through?

All the best,
----- Original Message ----- 
From: Susanne Bruyere 
To: Lisa Seeman 
Sent: Wednesday, February 13, 2002 8:27 AM
Subject: Developing accessibility techniques for cognitive disabilities


I am sharing this with several colleagues both within Cornell and the greater "cognitive disability" community, if that's okay.  I will try to coalesce responses and get back to you by Friday, if that's okay.


At 09:04 AM 2/13/2002 -0800, you wrote:

  I have written a draft of the new checkpoint. It needs a lot of work technically (wording and differentiation between definitions and success criteria) but I thought I would ask your opinion before I work on it further as to if you consider it to be as complete as possible.
  Please not that the other checkpoints such as clear and consistent navigation mechanisms , and use consistent page layout and recognizable graphics and avoid moving, blinking, scrolling or auto-updating objects or pages, or ensure that they can be paused or stopped by the user are still in place.

  Checkpoint 3.3 Write as clearly and simply as is appropriate for the content. 


  Definitions (informative) 

  Clear and simple writing requires planning and work on the level of the document each sentence and individual words. Clear and simple text has been broken up beyond the level requirements by good  markup. 
  A clear document has a structured flow of ideas.
   A clear document provides the flow of ideas summarized in a summary, diagram or page map  to help the user orientate themselves within the document.
  A clear document specifically states each step within the flow of ideas and does not leave stages inferred or implied.
  A clear document has an easily scanable layout with key information highlighted through presentation and positioning.
   A clear document contains tools to aid comprehension including: 
    a.. Illustrations:illustrations of instructions, illustrations of flow of concepts,  
    b.. Support of decision making:  Provide forms element examples. Provide calculation assistance. Provide prompts for procedures, cues. Support "wizards" which offer help, simplify configuration, and assist with sequences. Structured tasks, cued sequences, and step-by-step instructions. 
    c.. Reduction of decision making: Automated complex sequences like user registration. Reduce the need to calculate Providing forms element defaults  and make it easy to re-establish them. 
  Note: Loretta suggests moving this whole "provide additional support " part to an extra checkpoint. I think that that may be wise.

  A clear paragraph expresses a single idea that can be summarized by its first sentence.
  A clear paragraph has an easily scanable layout with key information highlighted through presentation, markup and positioning.
  A clear sentence contains a single point.
  A clear sentence is as short as can be used to expressed a single point.
   A clear instructions focuses on concrete rather than abstract indicators using absolute reference controls rather than relative ones.
  Simple word are words that easily understood. This means that words should be of short and of common usage.
  Use of jargon may be simple, were as the long term may complicate the sentence (eg: ROM or read only memory) however translations of jargon should be provided with each instance. 
  Clear words can not be misinterpreted by someone who is unfamiliar with the language or can not process metaphorical sarcastic or non literal use of language. Such unclear use of language should be marked as such.
  Clear words are meaningful and specific. 
  It is sufficient to provide a  mode with minimum and clear functionality that eliminates or hides what isn't necessary for completing the site's goals.


  Success criteria 

  Provide overview
  For flow: look at overview ( summary, diagram, heading outline or page map)- It is possible to map the document to pieces that are in the summary 
  Highlight key information  using markup ( eg headings and emphasis) -  when the highlighted text
  stands alone does it summarize the key ideas.
  Short paragraphs - Paragraphs should have with fewer than five sentences . Use lists to break up long paragraphs.
  can sentences be replaces by bullet points? If so markup sentence as a list 
  First sentence summarizes the point of each subsequent sentence - does each sentence in the paragraph directly relate to the first sentence?
  one idea per sentence- Test: replace each paragraph with a one idea sentence. Does the document
  STILL make sense?
   Use short sentences - Write sentences with 20 or fewer words and .
   Use lists to break up long sentences -can comas be replaced by bullet points? if so markup sentence as a list 
  Sentence   -Headings
  Should be meaningful out of context
  Headings should be unique
  Sentence - Instructional
  It should be possible to identify a graphic representation of an
   instruction. I.e. you can draw the picture.
  Each step is clearly stated. You could you represent the flow  chart and successfully perform a dry
  Pictorial representation should be provided of each instruction
  Use active rather than passive expressions 
  Sentences contain no more than one relative clause
  Use goal/action structure for menu prompts.
  Non-literal text is identified and a literal translation is identified - 
  test by literal translating to another language and re- literal translating back. Does it make
  Jargon that is expected should be linked to a glossary / explanation.
  Use simple words: Substitute common words for uncommon words
  (without significantly expanding the size) does not change the meaning. Note 
  that this requires a dictionary that marks the "difficulty" of a word.

  Words - anchors (links)
  hypertext anchors should be meaningful out of context
  All form elements should have a default or example provided
  calculations should be performed automatically (eg severside)
  Provide definite feedback cues
  Use a two-step "select and confirm" to reduce accidental selections. (IE nothing happens when an option is selected until a confirm/go/OK button is clicked)

  At 09:39 AM 11/23/2001 -0800, you wrote:

       Hi, my name is Lisa Seeman and I have been working with the World Wide Web Consortium's (w3.org) Web Accessibility Initiative, where I have been involved in writing guidelines for web accessibility to enable assistive technology and web content be accessible for people with disabilities. 
      These guidelines are, and have been used by, legislators across the world in creating standards for equal access. I have just come back from Australia, were Melbourne University asked me to speak on gaps within the guidelines, which was a good topic, as it actually made me analyze what still was needed, and I came away with a concern that cognitive disabilities are not adequately represented within the guidelines. It is my position that if someone who could understand web content, is unable to, because of the design chouses of the web author, then that web content is inaccessible, even if it can be used by all types of physical disabled persons. I then presented the problem at the last W3C WCAG.
      Somehow by the end of the week, I found I had taken an action item to change this situation. 
      This would involve a few steps: 
        a.. Collecting comprehensive information as to how people with different cognitive disabilities comprehend semantic information, including what types of presentations inhibit or confuse understanding. 
        b.. Developing cross technology techniques, tools and guidelines that could be used by web authors, tool developers and assistive technologies to enhance the accessibility of electronic information, typically over the internet. 
        c.. Controlled scientific testing the effectives of these techniques in aiding cognitive comprehension 
      For example, SP comprehension may be increased by use of literal semantics, with a visual reference. Taking that, we can create
      techniques for alternatives renderings and tools to test for non visual references. We would then need to confirm the
      effectiveness of the given techniques with controlled scientific testing.
      These techniques would then be included in the next version of  WCAG (WCAG 2) which are used by legislator across the globe as a bench mark of accessibility.
      I have been speaking to people at Machon Lev technology school about another project, and they are very interested in finding students to assist in the technology side of things. However we still do not have the mechanism for providing the specification and testing of the techniques. In other words, to define what can be done to enhance comprehension, and to confirm that the suggested techniques fulfill their aims.
      It seemed appropriate to contact you to find out if you could supply information or support for this project, such as any regulations or recommendations that you have for  writing to aid comprehension for the cognitively disabled, or any other way that you would like to be involved in this project.
      All the best,
      Lisa Seeman
      1866 654 8680
      Widen the World Web

    Susanne M. Bruyère, Ph.D., CRC, Director 
    Program on Employment and Disability 
    Cornell University 
    School of Industrial & Labor Relations-Extension Division 
    Ithaca, New York  14853-3901 USA 
    Telephone: (607)255-7727 
    Fax: (607)255-2763 
    TTY/TDD: (607)255-2891 
    e-mail: smb23@cornell.edu 
    Website address: http://www.ilr.cornell.edu/ped/
Received on Wednesday, 13 February 2002 11:36:17 UTC

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