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[TC4R Symposium] - comments on supporting text customisation for older Web users

From: DavidSloan <DSloan@computing.dundee.ac.uk>
Date: Mon, 19 Nov 2012 12:23:53 -0000
Message-ID: <575B8349936EB942AA776EE1C781460838C22E@mailex.computing.dundee.ac.uk>
To: <public-wai-rd-comments@w3.org>
As a short contribution to the TC4R Symposium, I argue the complexity of the challenge of supporting Web users - particularly older Web users, whose needs are particularly likely to change over time - in making appropriate customisation changes, is in the different layers of the challenge.

We need to:
1. help people who may benefit from text customisation understand that customisation of web content is possible;
2. help people identify their own customisation needs;
3. support people in making those changes.

This challenge was the basis for one component of the SUS-IT project (http://sus-it.lboro.ac.uk), which looked at the feasibility of semi-automatic detection of capability change and generating suggestions for customisation change - see [1] for further background on this work.

Supporting older Web users in making changes is also challenging - in a 2006 investigation into the usability of online accessibility advice [2], we heard stories from older web users on (sometimes unexpected) approaches to improving readability of online content. In one example, a male participant described how, when he encountered text on a Web page that he found difficult to read, he would copy the text into Word and enlarge it appropriately, since he knew that Word allowed him to customise text appearance.

David Sloan

[1] Sloan D., Atkinson, M. T., Machin, C. H. C., Li, K. (2010) The Potential of Adaptive Interfaces as an Accessibility Aid for Older Web Users. Proceedings of 2010 International Cross-Disciplinary Conference on Web Accessibility (W4A) (Raleigh, US, 26-27 April 2010).
[2] Sloan, D., Dickinson, A., McIlroy, N. and Gibson, L. (2006) Evaluating the Usability of Online 
Accessibility Information: Final Project Report. Available from http://www.computing.dundee.ac.uk/staff/dsloan/usableaccessibilityadvice.htm

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Received on Monday, 19 November 2012 12:24:40 UTC

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