W3C home > Mailing lists > Public > public-personalization-tf@w3.org > October 2021

Symbols Update: i18n, AAC, Bliss, WikiHow and RTL. Long

From: Lionel Wolberger <lionel@userway.org>
Date: Thu, 7 Oct 2021 12:52:39 +0300
Message-ID: <CAHOHNHdjyQgdNFN1vwtv3WcALkTz3mwXorExdZ6tNZuQz42jqw@mail.gmail.com>
To: public-personalization-tf <public-personalization-tf@w3.org>
Cc: Lisa Seeman <lisa.seeman@zoho.com>, Lisa Seeman <lisa1seeman@gmail.com>
Hi All,

I consulted with Dr. Adi Neeman, an expert in AAC and its use in Hebrew and
Arabic. It was perfect timing, as October is international AAC month. The
executive summary:

   - There are no RTL or LTR issues, since current AAC practice maps single
   words to single symbols. This solves our i18n issue.
   - Discursive narratives like Alice in Wonderland are not "translated" or
   transformed into symbols. Procedures and recipes are better sample text. SO
   the epub page could be a cookbook recipe.
   - Bliss is no longer used in the greater AAC community. Currently the
   proprietary and commercial symbols Tobii Dynavox and SymbolStix dominate.
   There are open source symbols available here, https://globalsymbols.com.
   We may also try ARASAAC. This means we need to change how we discuss
   symbols, and look closer at symbol inter-compatibility.
   - The inline rendering in the "WikiHow" proof of concept is not best
   practice. The symbols should be rendered above the text, each symbol above
   the word that it portrays.

About Dr. Adi Neeman: Chief Executive Officer of ISAAC (International
Society for Augmentative and Alternative Communication) Israel. Also leads
the Israeli association of Augmentative and Alternative Communication.

Below please find some more details of what we discussed.

- Lionel


The Bliss system was created for a non-computerized world. The advent of
the iPad accelerated the migration away from Bliss. While ISAAC does not
recommend any particular set, these are the current leaders: PCS,
SymbolStix (commercial) and Global Symbols (free).

For narratives like a book, today AAC-reliant people view a video or a
cartoon, as AAC users may also have memory issues so long strings of
consecutive symbols cannot be parsed meaningfully.

Rendering: The vast majority put the word under the symbol, fitting the
caption pattern, where words appear under the image. When you put the words
in order, then the symbols will render in that order.

There are localization issues with individual symbols. e.g. the parking
symbol (based on the letter P in English, based on the letter HET in
Hebrew); walking direction (in LTR the person is facing right, in RTL
cultures the person is facing left); breakfast images (the eggs sausage and
bacon image is not an Israeli breakfast) and so on.

YouTube is the #1 popular site for many AAC reliant people, and remediating
video search engines would be very helpful. Also look at the school
websites that cater to AAC students.

Display location is important: AAC users have visual memory and learn where
things are located spatially. People usually look at the central frame of
our visible display area. On communication boards the most important things
go in the center, with the less important things go into the periphery.

When this standard succeeds, everyone will use it. It will help promote
literacy, as people match images to words.

ARASAAC is a symbol set that can be used freely.

Lionel Wolberger
COO, UserWay Inc.
UserWay.org <http://userway.org/>
Received on Thursday, 7 October 2021 09:53:29 UTC

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