As mentioned in the previous posting, one feature of Web browsers intended for use by people with cognitive disabilities is the conversion of Web site text into a symbol-based alternative.
Produced by Widget Software, the image below is intended as a small demonstration.
There are also Web sites, such as The Children’s Society, that accompany the text of their pages with a symbol-based alternative.
Widget Software, through its Symbols Inclusion Project, does have some material on Evidence and Practice related to the use of symbols in the classroom. Yet I can find no information on its site that refers to basic research on the development of a symbol-based alternative to text.
There has been such research, especially within the area of augmentative communication. However, it is my impression that none has produced significant evidence in support of text-to-symbol replacement on the scale used by the Web browsers and the Web sites designed for people with cognitive disabilities.
Widget Software advertises its library of symbols represents over 29,000 words. The text-to-symbol conversion is one symbol for each word. Upon what research does it rely to show that these symbols accurately convey syntax, for instance? More investigation into this matter will be the subject of a future blog post.
Note: About Widget Software and its products, no endorsement is intended or implied.