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RE: accessibility & icon use

From: ajudson <ajudson@computing.dundee.ac.uk>
Date: Wed, 5 May 2004 15:55:04 +0100
Message-ID: <31C6D68FA597D411B04D00E02965883B02566AE7@mailhost>
To: "'w3c-wai-ig@w3.org'" <w3c-wai-ig@w3.org>

Hi David, and others...

I'm Andy Judson, I work on the wwaac project mentioned by Chaals' original
reply, and he covered the background to our project nicely. We're currently
coming to the end of our 3 years of european funding and as such we're busy
writing our final deliverables. But over the next few days we're going to
meeting internally to discuss how we can continue this work etc. I won't go
into the project too much here as everything is on the website [1]. The
latest version of our deliverable and other background work and links can be
found there. Recently we've been producing a demo area [2] that uses our
concept coding approach - which is basically made up of rdf/owl/ruby and

[1] http://dewey.computing.dundee.ac.uk/ccf
[2] http://dewey.computing.dundee.ac.uk:8080/ccf

Please have a look at the these and email me if you have further questions

You can also find me and the others working on the concept coding on irc at

Also, in response to Janet the PCS symbol set from mayer-johnson is a
licensed set, so it is not likely you can just post them on your websites.
We're in discussion with all the communication symbol set authors/license
owners and developers using them to get them onboard with our approach, and
to discuss how the use of such systems over the web can happen. 

-----Original Message-----
From: Janet Russeau [mailto:russeau@misd.k12.mi.us] 
Sent: 05 May 2004 13:47
To: w3c-wai-ig@w3.org
Subject: Re: accessibility & icon use 

At 11:52 AM 5/5/2004 +0100, you wrote:

>I'm looking at making accessible an educational website for an FE college 
>and while looking at inclusiveness of people with learning difficulties, 
>Something struck me. I think, maybe a potential standardisation missing 
>which may help many people.
>What I'm interested in is the use of icons on web pages as the main 
>meaning representation for links (see  Jonathan Chetwynd's web site at 
>http://www.peepo.com for example).
>Is there any development of a global standard for meanings of icons / 
>pictograms so that meanings become standard like text?
>I ask this because the constant replies I get, is to work with students to 
>invent our own - this is reasonable for our Intranet where support is 
>easily given but potential future students (our web sites target audience) 
>may not perceive them with the same meaning, which could cause confusion.
>These could be developed in the same way different people require (and can 
>choose) use of different fonts (for languages / families locales). They 
>could also be defined WAI?
>I'd be interested to hear comments on this.
>Dave Harris

With our Special Education students, we use the symbols contained in the 
Mayer-Johnson (http://www.mayer-johnson.com/) product called Boardmaker.

It contains numerous images that represent people, places, things, 
emotions, and much more. Teachers and speech therapists create "boards" 
with these images that students can use to communicate. In some instances, 
the student points to a series of pictures to tell the teacher something. 
In other cases, the teacher points to a picture to tell the student 
something. These pictures are also placed on objects around the room so the 
student can learn to associate the picture with the object.

Boardmaker is a very popular software used in the Special Education world 
(at least in the U.S.) and would be very recognizable to a specific

The other nice feature about this product, is that each picture also comes 
with standard text that is also customizable. By including the text, 
individuals that are not familiar with the symbols can still understand the 
meaning, and once individuals become accustomed to seeing the symbols and 
text, they no longer need the text to recognize the symbol and it's meaning.

I think that if the ALT attribute is used to provide the meaning for each 
symbol used, it would accomplish the same type of goal. Those that cannot 
"see" the symbol, still know what it's function is. Those that can "see" 
the symbol, can mouseover it to read the ALT text and still will know what 
it's function is.

Sorry if this wasn't exactly the type of feedback you're looking for.

Received on Wednesday, 5 May 2004 11:07:36 UTC

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