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RE: Areas of concern for the cognitively disabled (symbol users)

From: andy judson <ajudson@computing.dundee.ac.uk>
Date: Fri, 26 Sep 2003 13:12:51 +0100
To: <w3c-wai-gl@w3.org>
Cc: "Colette Nicolle" <c.a.nicolle@lboro.ac.uk>
Message-ID: <002701c38427$82388900$1f232486@Wench>

Hi Lisa, and others...

I thought that it would be relevant to add some very rough notes /
introduction in to what we are investigating for cognitive impaired users
and in particular symbol users. I'm involved in the EU funded WWAAC (world
wide augmentative and assistive communication) project along with Bengt
Farre, Colette Nicolle and load of other people. 

In brief:
- the are several communication vocabulary sets all of which are proprietary
& produced by different companies
- there is currently no way of electronic interchange between users, - for
example a user of the PCS vocab couldn't send a translated message to a user
of a widget vocab.
- what we are in the process of developing is a ConceptCodingFramework that
will allow such a translation to occur. Roughly... We're building an RDF
onthology of concepts (using the Voice of America and the Bliss 1500 most
frequent words) - this is done via wordnet and kaon; An API that we'll then
pass on to AAC vocab developers for them to export their concepts into -
producing an api bridge that matches their concepts to the concepts in our
onthology. So in future if someone was sending an email or browsing a
webpage, they could translate that material using xpointers and rdf, query
our onthology, and choose the representation they want eg. Bliss, PCS etc

We're planning to run a workshop this november (in Dundee, Scotland)
introducing this work (now it is taking shape). The aim of the workshop is
to get input and feedback on the design and implementation, and just to
spread the word on this work especially to AAC manufactures. So if you are
interested in finding out more on this project or attending the workshop
please let me know so I can contact you with further information.

Thanks Andy Judson.

-----Original Message-----
From: w3c-wai-gl-request@w3.org [mailto:w3c-wai-gl-request@w3.org] On Behalf
Of lisa seeman
Sent: 25 September 2003 18:28
To: w3c-wai-gl@w3.org
Subject: RE: Areas of concern for the cognitively disabled

This my attempt at expanding the checkpoints, as Kerstin said this is a
move away from guideline writing and a move towards understanding what
we are wring.

I may not have go into enough detail hear let me know if more is needed,
or I am not being clear and I will try again

Let me know if you think we should forward this to the list.

The core checkpoint on cognitive disabilities:

A, The first idea is to provide assistance to enable the user to find
and understand core information. To allow user agents to help people
find and understand content

This is cross disabilities - helping people find the information and
transform it to a more useful presentation, help skimming etc.

For example, dyslexics are often thought to make a schematic of a page
and an outline, this is how I used to take notes for example (you can
see more on my paper at the www2002 conference) Why this helps is that I
would not have to read and wade through a lot of words  to get an

If you look at a UB access page map rendering (say
You can see that we can make an automatic schematic of a site (our next
stage will be to make a SVG schematic) However it will only be as useful
as the structure of your document and the helpfulness of your title

Another example typical of dyslexics: In university I could not take
notes, however I would highlight key terms in textbooks as we covered
the topic. That meant that at revision time I did not need to read the
textbook, I had to look at the highlighted terms -if they made sense, I
could move on. If I had no idea why they were highlighted , I needed to
read on. 

In short I want to supply users with a schematic of a site and page so
they can find the content that they need. To do that I need important
content marketed up, and well worded

SO far the wording is:

 1, provide uniqueness of page titles
  2, provide headings and linked text that are unique and clear when 
 read out of context
  3,  key terms and  key information that the user most typically 
 requires are marked up with structural markup -(note: this is  similar 
 to1.3 [CORE] however we are adding a requirement  to _identify_  
 important content
 - and then incorporate it into structural mark up )

This is a bit different -people need to be able to understand content.
Again the emphasis is on user agents- Is it possible for a user agent to
simplify? Are humans themselves left confused? Removing ambiguities that
can course confusion: these are of the type where the double meaning of
a word actually makes sense, but is incorrect -such as "tap the
aircraft" - should I go and give it a tap or what - even the best
algorithm can not guess this right for you, leaving you with an
incorrect message - 

Hebrew diatric marks: It is true that there is some very expensive and
inconvenient user agents that will decipher web content and add the
pronunciations. However when the algorism does not work, the user is at
a complete loss as to what the page is talking about, and even the most
expensive algorithm sometimes do not work well on a site. When this
happens the whole page is wrongly interpreted. The user can not decipher
the page correctly, because they do not know what the author intended. 

At the author end however, a quick check of the site with the automated
diatric marks added, will tell them if the page is misinterpreted or
not. Adding the occasion diatric mark will remedy the situation.

  4,  when the content is more important then the writing style, clarify
Syntactic and Semantic ambiguity, (but not word ambiguity). 
 5, When the pronunciation at the user end is ambiguous, add dietric

OK the extended checkpoint

Checkpoint 3.3 -E
 checkpoint 3.3 -provide clear content


The "review" criteria was added as a compromise position, between
allowing us to state some clear writing requirements and making it
practical. However in view of us now being able to make this an extended
checkpoint, we do not have to have the same concerns. If it is
inappropriate for this content to use short sentence - well then the
author can still claim accessibility, but just not to this checkpoint.
From the user perspective, this page is not accessible this audience if
certain clear and certain criteria are not met.  

I am not intending this checkpoint to be used on most sites. However,
sites that need to use it will. Like instructions on how to vote, and
adult education sites.

More to the point , we need to write guidelines as to how to make
content accessible. We need therefore to iterate that this will make
your site accessible to people who otherwise can not access your site.

The fact: using simple words and simple language will allow more people
to understand you. 

There are millions of people who have problems understanding language
-written or spoken. There are many people who have worked hard the last
thirty years of their life to build up a vocabulary of say 1000 words. 

If you use simple words more people can understand your content

I know Avi ( Voice of America) has simple language broadcasts/. All
there news items are described only using words from a short "simple
language dictionary/lexicon". This lexicon is available, and is short,
and they manage to describe all their news broadcasts using it. 

We want to say: use words that more people can understand For example
use words in  a six year old's vocabulary not. However if this is too
difficult for your site's content, then try and keep the "age" bar down
as much as you can.

Not very testable or normative.

But this is both testable and normative

"All terms  used are available in a linked to, fully accessible  simple
language lexicon, or supplementary lexicon of topic  specific Jargon" 

There are any number of lexicons available. I know when they test
children's development they have lists of words that child is expected
to understand and use correctly at any given age. Pick your lexicon -
but stick to it

The next thing I need to say is speak simply.  For example, when
speaking to a autistic person one would use active voicing. In all
languages I know of, one would keep sentences as short as possible, (and
of course paragraphs). Again how to make it work across sites needs work
- hear is my attempt 

 2.	A language structure is chosen to aid comprehension (such as
 voice in languages where this form helps convey information) 

3. There is a public available policy statement of acceptable maximum
length of nown phrases, and that this policy is conformed to on the site
4. There is a public available policy statement of acceptable number of
words in sentences  and that this policy is conformed to on the site
  3. There is a public available policy statement of acceptable maximum
number of  sentences in  paragraphs and that this policy is conformed to
on the site  
7.	Separate ideas are provided in a  separate paragraphs 

one more point - not everyone can use language -some people work with
pictures or symbols For people without language or with very weak
language skills, conversion to symbols is necessary -and for that the
user agent has to know what text is important to convert, and have the
uncertainties in natural language removed.

On the other hand there are also people with low language skills who can
manage some language but a diagram is much more useful for them. The low
language skills user will want illustrations instead of learning symbols
(similar to the difference between low vision and no vision).

8.	The key term or idea of each paragraph is easily identifiable 
(techniques: through markup like me, or by "front loading")
 9.	Inclusion of non-text content to symbolize or replace text for
 10.	Clarity of references are provided for  pronouns and anaphoric 
 expressions (these refer back to something already said in the text)
 11.	Conjunction forms and adverbs are used correctly to make
 the relationship between phrases or parts of the text such as "and," 
 "but," "furthermore," "not only"


> 12.	Clarify the logic in the order and flow of information (for
> provide a summary, document map or flow diagram)
Benefit: it is like the core checkpoint but the onus s on the author to
provide the summary

> 13.	Provide all steps in  required actions or in the explanation of 
> instructions

This should be obvious - if not let me know

> 14.	Provide consistency in the use of names and labels

Then a note on how to make a policy statement ( e.g.- a policy statement
should  balance  and justify the following factors 

All the best
Lisa Seeman
Visit us at the UB Access website
UB Access - Moving internet accessibility

-----Original Message-----
From: Kerstin Goldsmith [mailto:kerstin.goldsmith@oracle.com] 
Sent: Friday, September 19, 2003 6:22 AM
To: lisa seeman; Cynthia Shelly; Wendy A Chisholm
Subject: Areas of concern for the cognitively disabled

Hi, Lisa, Cynthia, Wendy:

Lisa, Cynthia and I met last week to talk about the areas of WCAG 2.0 
that were meant to address solutions/requirements for people with 
cognitive disabilities.  I thought it was a good discussion, and 
certainly seemed to lead to an idea good process for approaching some 
solutions for including as much testable material as is feasible, while 
still retaining untestable material as essential.  What we agreed was 
that Lisa would expound on all the ideas that were chopped up into 
pieces in the current checkpoints, adding as much detail and background 
as possible, including benefits, history, profiles of the kinds of 
disabilities, etc..  From this expansion, we could then work backwards 
to make a list of checkpoints, and then from there try to decide what 
could be core and what would have to be extended.

So, Lisa, two things:  First, let me apologize for blundering and using 
the phrase "dumbing down" when talking about reading James Joyce.  I 
think that it was an obvious reference to my own need, and Cynthia's, 
for simplification of Joyce's ideas, but the moment it slipped out of my

mouth, laughing as I was, it felt totally inappropriate.  So, I am 
sorry.  Second, were you able to get any more ideas down on paper about 
what I talk about in the paragraph above?  If not, when can we see 
something, so that this idea and these issues have some kind of timeline

for resolution, if that's fair to ask.  

I am eager to get back to work on this - I think Wendy will be back next

week, so maybe we can all reconvene then?

It was nice "meeting" you on the phone, Lisa.  Hope to talk to you, and 
Cynthia and Wendy, soon!

Received on Friday, 26 September 2003 08:13:00 UTC

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