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RE: Feedback on accessibility techniques for cognitive disabiliti es

From: James Newbery <jamesnewbery@ukconnect.org>
Date: Tue, 26 Feb 2002 13:24:02 -0000
To: <w3c-wai-ig@w3.org>
Message-ID: <000f01c1bec8$dc15d700$0c0aa8c0@PC02>
First of all, we need to understand exactly what differences in
accessibility needs might result in conflicting design priorities. There is
very little research into difficulties that people with cognitive
disabilities have using the internet. This is reflected in the comparative
lack of emphasis that their needs are given in accessibility guidelines.
Additionally, as Graham has pointed out, 'cognitive disabilities' cover an
enormous range of impairment, so investigations in this area are likely to
be lengthy and full of ambiguity.

It seems to make common sense that there *are* going to be a number of
conflicts. It then becomes that much more important that we understand who
our users are, and how they use the web, so that potential conflicts can be
resolved on an informed basis.

This serves to remind us that accessibility guidelines are good at telling
us what design aspects to include, but not at telling us exactly why we are
including them. This is largely common sense when it comes to supporting
physical and sensory impairments, which are socially 'obvious' and easier
for people to comprehend. When it comes to cognitive disabilities, however,
design 'common sense' is harder to come by, because judgments must be made
about something that people often find difficult to comprehend. For example,
I find it harder imagine what it might be like to have learning difficulties
than what it might be like to have visual impairment. I personally think
that a set of design guidelines are less informative for design (and less
interesting) than an understanding of the barriers and facilitators that
people face in day to day life.

-----Original Message-----
From: w3c-wai-ig-request@w3.org [mailto:w3c-wai-ig-request@w3.org]On
Behalf Of Scarlett Julian (ED)
Sent: 26 February 2002 09:48
To: 'w3c-wai-ig@w3.org'
Subject: RE: Feedback on accessibility techniques for cognitive
disabiliti es

I seem to have missed out on the previous posts on this subject. The
comments in general seem to be what I would call common sense useability
issues (note that I recognise that not everyone, and certainly not web
designers, has or uses common sense). What interests me more is David
Brewer's statement that he can foresee a battle between disability groups on
a sensory/cognitive split that will enable "web access issues to be skirted
by designers". Putting aside the fact that the majority of designers skirt
these issues already, how can we avoid David's perceived battleground
becoming yet another get-out clause for web developers? It is obvious that
there are very real and different issues for different groups of disabled
users - how do we marry them all? Do we even try?


-----Original Message-----
From: Lisa Seeman [mailto:seeman@netvision.net.il]
Sent: Tuesday, February 26, 2002 4:35 PM
To: w3c-wai-ig@w3.org
Subject: Fw: Feedback on accessibility techniques for cognitive disabilities

----- Original Message -----
From: Elaina Sitaras
To: seeman@netvision.net.il
Cc: smb23@cornell.edu
Sent: Monday, February 25, 2002 1:23 PM
Subject: Feedback on accessibility techniques for cognitive disabilities


I am very sorry that I did not send this out last week as Susanne had
Attached to this email you should find two documents -- one with the
comments and the other with the contact information for those who

Elaina Sitaras

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Date: Tue, 19 Feb 2002 19:04:45 -0500
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To: Lisa Seeman <seeman@netvision.net.il>
From: Susanne Bruyere <smb23@cornell.edu>
Subject: Feedback on accessibility techniques for cognitive disabilities
Cc: es48@cornell.edu (Elaina Sitaras)


We have not forgotten you. I sent your guidelines off to our own staff, and
also to four colleagues with expertise in cognitive disabilities (traumatic
brain injury) and developmental disabilities. We have been waiting to see if
anyone else responded to us. Elaina Sitaras, our Research Assistant, is
coalescing these responses for us, and will be sending these off to out
tomorrow, from whatever feedback we have gotten. She will also be sending
the names and contact information for anyone who has responded, in case you
want to get back to them with questions. We hope that this will be of

Susanne Bruyere

At 06:24 PM 2/13/2002 -0800, you wrote:
That is fantastic,
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Received on Tuesday, 26 February 2002 08:20:16 UTC

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