Cognitive Web Accessibility: Readability 2009

Published in 2009, these resources are original studies, literature reviews and/or related articles that cite references.

  • Comparing evaluation techniques for text readability software for adults with intellectual disabilities
    In this paper, we compare alternative techniques for evaluating a software system for simplifying the readability of texts for adults with mild intellectual disabilities (ID). Using a Wizard-of-Oz prototype, we conducted experiments with a group of adults with ID to test alternative formats of questions to measure comprehension of the information in the news articles. We have found that some forms of questions work well at measuring the difficulty level of a text: multiple-choice questions with three answer choices, each illustrated with clip-art or a photo. Some types of questions do a poor job: yes/no questions and Likert-scale questions in which participants report their perception of the text's difficulty level. Our findings inform the design of future evaluation studies of computational linguistic software for adults with ID; this study may also be of interest to researchers conducting usability studies or other surveys with adults with ID."
  • Invisible access needs of people with intellectual disabilities: a conceptual model of practice
    "Accessibility is about the ability to reach and navigate a place; the opportunity to participate, use, and enjoy a service or facility; and the right to receive information. However, the barriers to accessibility faced by people with intellectual disabilities are not always apparent and, therefore, require exploration and clarification. The main accessibility challenges faced by people with intellectual disability can be categorized by four domains: pace, complexity, literacy, and stigma."
  • Developing and evaluating web-based assistive technologies for older adults
    "Delivering Inclusive Access to Disabled and Elderly Members of the community (DIADEM) is a three year Framework 6 European Union (EU) funded project. The primary goal is to develop the DIADEM application, a plug-in to a web browser that adapts the online-form interface according to users’ needs, making the content more accessible for cognitively impaired older adults. After providing some background information relating to the DIADEM project and the DIADEM application, a trial protocol is presented. As one of the main contributions of this paper, the protocol has been specifically designed to identify cognitively impaired older-adults and to evaluate the usability of online-form content from an older adult user’s perspective. To demonstrate the applicability of the trial protocol within the context of an ongoing research project, details of a set of pan-European trials involving 77 eligible users, who evaluated DIADEM enabled online-forms according to the trial protocol, are also presented. Results of the trials reveal a number of online-form design guidelines, which will be incorporated into future versions of the DIADEM application. Although these guidelines have been developed specifically for the DIADEM application, they also represent valuable guidelines for online-form developers more generally, and if adhered to, will ensure that content is more usable for the cognitively impaired older adult user group. This paper concludes by discussing the lessons learned from implementing the trial protocol and how the implications of the findings of the DIADEM user trials may be incorporated into future versions of the DIADEM application."
  • Making Your Website Easy for Older Adults
    National Institute on Aging's tip sheet offers research-based guidelines that can help you create websites that work well for older adults, the fastest-growing group of Internet users. It includes: Basing Web Design on Research, Organizing Web information, Writing online Text, Designing Readable online text, Making Websites Easy to Find, Including Other Media, and Making Sure Older Adults Can Use Your Website.
  • Basic guidelines for people who commission Easy Read information
    Published by the UK's Department of Heath, "The purpose of this document is to provide a set of basic guidelines for people commissioning information in Easy Read aimed at people with learning disabilities."
  • Automatic readability assessment for people with intellectual disabilities
    "My research goal is to advance our understanding of, and quantify, what makes a text easy or difficult to read, in particular for readers with intellectual disabilities."
  • Comparing evaluation techniques for text readability software for adults with intellectual disabilities
    "We introduce our research on the development of software to automatically simplify news articles, display them, and read them aloud for adults with ID."
  • Five Steps to an Accessible Classroom Website
    "Websites should be accessible to those with visual, hearing, movement, cognitive, and speech disabilities." ... "This article presents five steps that will open one's website to a wide community of diverse users: (1) Organize for easier navigation; (2) Navigation without a mouse; (3) Text explanations for images; (4) Using text that makes sense; and (5) Web validators."
  • Clear Helper: Web Site Design Suggestions for People with Dyslexsia
    Summary of relevant recommendations by people who themselves have Dyslexia.
  • Dyslexia Style Guide - The British Dyslexia Association
    "The Dyslexia Style Guide is in three parts: 1. Creating dyslexia friendly written material. 2. Preparing a document for accessibility for text reading software. 3. Dyslexia friendly websites."
  • What we know about dyslexia and Web accessibility: a research review
    "This paper reviews existing literature at the intersection of dyslexia and accessibility research to determine what useful knowledge exists regarding this important and relatively large group of users. This review uncovers that, although there are few published usability tests with dyslexic users, there is a considerable body of knowledge on dyslexia as well as many design guidelines for authoring dyslexic-accessible interfaces."
  • AltText: A Showcase of User Centred Design in the Netherlands
    "In the information processing chain many documents are produced that are inaccessible to the reading impaired. The altText project aims to increase the accessibility of this content ...".
  • Adaptive User Interfaces: Benefit or Impediment for Lower-Literacy Users?
    "This paper addresses web accessibility and usability for lower-literacy users with limited ICT skills. Although adaptive and adaptable user interfaces have been studied and discussed at least since the 80s, the potential of adaptive user interfaces is still far from realization. A main conclusion drawn in this paper is that simple, straightforward and intuitive adaptivity mechanisms may work well, but more complex and pervasive ones don’t, and may even be counterproductive."
  • Text justification – review of issues and techniques
    "Keywords: HTML, CSS3, PDF, readability, dyslexia, hy­phenation, word spacing, letter spacing, glyph resizing". Published by PWS Ltd.
  • Web Design For Dyslexia
    Answers to the questions "How should a website homepage be created so that people with dyslexia can get the most out of the page?" and "Why don't you use larger fonts on this web site to make it easier for dyslexic people to read?". Published by Dyslexia The Gift.
  • Speaking through pictures: images vs. icons
    "We present results from two studies that ..." "... demonstrate that images can be as effective as icons when used as a replacement for English language communication." People with aphasia, a condition that impairs the ability to understand or generate written or spoken language, are aided by assistive technology that helps them communicate through a vocabulary of icons. These systems are akin to language translation systems, translating icon arrangements into spoken or written language and vice versa. However, these icon-based systems have little vocabulary breadth or depth, making it difficult for people with aphasia to apply their usage to multiple real world situations. Pictures from the web are numerous, varied, and easily accessible and thus, could potentially address the small size issues of icon-based systems. We present results from two studies that investigate this potential and demonstrate that images can be as effective as icons when used as a replacement for English language communication. The first study uses elderly subjects to investigate the efficacy of images vs. icons in conveying word meaning; the second study examines the retention of word-level meaning by both images and icons with a population of aphasics. We conclude that images collected from the web are as functional as icons in conveying information and thus, are feasible to use in assistive technology that supports people with aphasia.
  • End-user moderation of cognitive accessibility in online communities: case study of brain fog in the lyme community
    Explores how individuals (with Lyme disease who are affected by 'brain fog' ) "... fail and succeed to establish and enforce, through moderation, the creation of cognitively accessible content ...".
  • Mencap: Am I making myself clear?
    "Mencap's guidelines for accessible writing". These guidelines were written to be understandable by people with cognitive disabilities, particularly intellectual disabilities.
  • Introducing the CBBC Accessible Newsreader
    "... can be accessed and navigated using a single key press, or a switch device mapped to that key ...". "... for users with reading disabilities or vision impairments is dynamically generated speech via high-end voice synthesis...".

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