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RE: DRAFT: Now with URL included!

From: Chuck Hitchcock <chitchcock@cast.org>
Date: Tue, 15 Jun 1999 15:16:48 -0400
To: "Kynn Bartlett" <kynn@idyllmtn.com>, <w3c-wai-ig@w3.org>
Message-ID: <NBBBKAJEGLHENOJJCLGHMEFLDNAA.chitchcock@cast.org>

I think your paper provides a good jumping off point for these issues.  You
might be interested in reading the section of the CAST Website dealing with
Universal Design for Learning.  It begins at:


Note that CAST has a slant towards learning and education so our view of
Universal Design is directly connected to K-12 and college level learning
strategies and curriculum materials.  Also note that the first of our three
"Universal Design for Learning Principles" ties in with your comments about
multiple representations of information.  If you are interested in reviewing
basic background information pertaining to the neurosciences and education
oriented strategies regarding these topics, that can be found on our website
as well.

CAST also provides a basic introduction to alternative representations for
images (alt tags and long descriptions) at:


A similar page is available at for sound at:


Both are first phase implementations and will be enhanced shortly by Michael
Cooper who is also our lead Bobby design and technical person.

It's really difficult to know how far to go with this sort of advice until
further progress on basic usability and accessibility is made with
educational, government and corporate websites.  We have been developing a
text-to-speech supported reader that uses the IE5 component and SAPI4 speech
to provide speech with synchronized highlighting in both the browser and Rich
Text document (or notes windows).  This is not intended to replace screen
readers.  It's to support those who cannot read or read well for one reason or
another - including those that you mention.  It is not considered a
replacement for learning to read and we are wrestling with the difficult
questions pertaining to providing the right balance of support and challenge
for those who still need to work on developing basic reading skills.  On the
other hand, we want learners to have access to information and not be denied
participation in educational activities due to reading and learning

TTS can provide basic access to text based information but it doesn't really
help much with poorly organized and poorly written information.  I am looking
for basic principles of usability that might be shared with kids and am
growing weary of having to translate the adult stuff for kids.  Does anyone
know of a great (or even partly great) usability and accessibility site
written at a level and organized in a way appropriate to kids.

I am pleased that you have gotten this topic off the ground.  As I recall, Al
Gilman and others have expressed interest in this area as well.


Chuck Hitchcock, Director
Universal Design Lab (UDL)and
Product Development,
CAST, Inc.,
39 Cross Street, Peabody, MA 01960
Voice 978 531-8555
TTY 978 531-3110
Fax 978 531-0192
Received on Tuesday, 15 June 1999 15:16:16 UTC

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