Archive for the ‘About Project’ Category

CAPTCHA, Cognitive Disabilities, v1 (W3C Task Force)

2014/09/02

As a member of the W3C‘s Cognitive and Learning Disabilities Accessibility Task Force, I agreed to review web-security technologies. I chose to begin with CAPTCHA. My first draft is below. The format I am using is the one I intend to use for future reviews. All the text is my own.

I welcome your feedback, additions, and/or revisions.

Example: shows 2 italicized words with lines through them; field with label 'Type the two words:';  3 buttons; and text 'reCAPTCHA', 'stop spam', 'read books'.Definition

CAPTCHA is typically a website widget that prevents automated programs from submitting a web form intended for humans by requiring humans to pass a test. Such tests present distorted text visually and/or aurally; and require the form-submitter to enter that text into a field, and invoke a submit button. See http://www.captcha.net/

Problem

CAPTCHA often blocks people with physical and/or cognitive disabilities who cannot discern the text they are required to enter and submit. The scope of the problem is vast because, for example, people with disabilities are prevented from purchasing goods and registering for services on the (probably) millions of websites that use CAPTCHA.

People with Cognitive Disabilities May Not Be Able to:

  • read CAPTCHA text at all because of the intentional distortion of it
  • comprehend text that can’t be enlarged without additional distortion
  • have the advantage of comprehending the meaning of words or images
  • understand text spoken in a computerized and distorted voice
  • complete the multi-step procedure for submitting the CAPTCHA text
  • complete a timed CAPTCHA due to slowness in completing all steps
  • understand the purpose of buttons such as reset, listen, and help
  • recognize functional elements, such as buttons, are clickable
  • focus due to irrelevant instructions such as “stop spam” and “read books”
  • become accustomed to CAPTCHA because there are multiple versions of it

Alternatives

Notes

  • Neil Milliken suggested I add that people may not be able to complete CAPTCHAs correctly due to sequencing problems causing them to input the characters in incorrect order. I will do so in my next draft.
  • No endorsement of CAPTCHA or its alternatives is intended or implied.

Autism Gap Analysis (W3C Task Force)

2014/08/25

Neil Milliken and I have written an autism gap analysis as part of the effort to create gap analyses by the W3C‘s Cognitive and Learning Disabilities Accessibility Task Force. Our intent is to identify the gap between where the state of accessibility for people with autism is now when using the web, and where we want it to be. The following is information about the autism gap analysis.

We included some personas with use cases that address key challenges. The personas and use cases are based upon aggregated results of interviews of people with autism-spectrum disorder (ASD), and upon anecdotal observations of their use of the web.

To our knowledge, there is no significant, empirical (user-based) testing on the use of the web by people with autism or other cognitive disabilities. In part because of that, we quoted results of directly-related research performed by WebAIM (N=8) in the section “Characteristics of content optimized for this group.”

We also quoted, from authoritative sources, much of the background information about autism. We did that, in large part, to help avoid adding to ASD-related controversies. The prime example is the reported increasing prevalence of ASD, and arguments that the increase is not actual, but due to the nature of the diagnoses.

Notes:

  • I will soon conduct a literature review for user-testing-based research related to web accessibility and people with cognitive disabilities. If you know of any, please post a comment with a reference to it.
  • Neil Milliken was assisted by Jessie Grainger, an intern who helped write most of the use-case scenarios.
  • No endorsement of any of the information contained in the autism gap analysis is intended or implied.

Gap Analyses for Cognitive Web Accessibility (W3C Task Force)

2014/08/19

The members of the W3C‘s Cognitive and Learning Disabilities Accessibility Task Force have been working since January to develop a set of gap analyses. A gap analysis, as we have defined it, identifies the gap between where the state of accessibility for people with cognitive disabilities is now when using the web, and where we want it to be.

The gap analyses are based upon common cognitive disabilities. The following list of the gap analyses includes their primary authors (as of July, 2014).

The task force has completed the first drafts. We are now working on integrating the information in the gap analyses into a single document. A large part of this work is to define cognitive web accessibility from a functional standpoint. We plan to combine information, such as challenges and techniques, that is common across the gap analyses, and retain information that is unique to a particular disability.

Note: The referenced gap analyses should not be quoted. They are works in progress. They do not necessarily represent consensus. They may have incorrect information; or information not supported by other task-force members, the WAI, or the W3C. They also may have some very-useful information. (This disclaimer paraphrases the one at the tops of the gap analyses.)

Proposed Infrastructure For Automatic-Accessibility Personalization

2014/04/29

The WC3‘s Cognitive and Learning Disabilities Accessibility Task Force received a presentation about a project called the “Global Public Inclusive Infrastructure” (GPII), from Gregg Vanderheiden, on March 31, 2014. Quoted below is a project description.

“The purpose of the Global Public Inclusive Infrastructure (GPII) is to ensure that everyone who faces accessibility barriers due to disabilityliteracydigital literacy, or aging, regardless of economic resources, can access and use the Internet and all its information, communities, and services for education, employment, daily living, civic participation, health, and safety.

As our countries build out their broadband infrastructures to ensure that broadband reaches everyone, it is important that ‘everyone’ includes people with disability, literacy and aging related barriers to Internet use. We need to be sure that we don’t stop at just connecting people to the Internet – but that we also see to it that they can actually use it, and benefit from all that it has to offer.

The GPII would not create new access technologies or services, but would create the infrastructure for making their development, identification, delivery, and use easier, less expensive, and more effective.  Like building a road system does not provide transportation but greatly enhances the ability of car companies and others to do so — and provides an infrastructure that car companies themselves cannot do. The Internet is the infrastructure for general information and commerce. The GPII enhancements to the Internet would provide the infrastructure to enable the Internet to be truly inclusive for the first time.

GPII is a paradigm shift.  The GPII will, for the first time, introduce automatic personalization of user interfaces and user context adaptation based on user preferences.  Each information and communication technology (ICT) device will be able to instantly change to fit users as they encounter the device, rather than requiring users to figure out how to adapt, configure or install access features they need.  It also introduces a system of shared components and services to reduce cost, increase interoperability, and foster innovation.”

The “GPII is a project of Raising the Floor, a consortium of academic, industry, and non-governmental organizations and individuals.”

Retrieved from http://gpii.net (Published June 30, 2010).

Note: No endorsement of the Global Public Inclusive Infrastructure and Raising the Floor is intended or implied.

New W3C Task Force for Cognitive Accessibility

2014/04/07

A new task force has been formed by the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) to develop accessibility guidelines for people with cognitive disabilities. It is led by Lisa Seeman, a long-time expert and advocate. Task force members are well-known experts from all over the world.

I am a member, an “Invited Expert”. My current, primary responsibility is to create and manage volunteer research groups of people with disabilities and others. I participate in the weekly conference calls of the task force, which so far have consisted of brainstorming sessions, presentations, and organization by Lisa of the task force’s work. Our first teleconference occurred on January 20th of this year.

The task force is known as the “Cognitive and Learning Disabilities Accessibility Task Force (Cognitive A11Y TF)” of the Protocols and Formats Working Group, and the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines Working Group.

I plan to publish, to this blog, the information I can share about the task force’s work.

Redesigning University Website for People with Learning Disabilities: Feedback

2011/03/28

I am working on a project to make the website, of a university program for people with learning disabilities, more usable by prospective students. Small groups of faculty and students were shown the first mockup last week. Listed below is their feedback and brief descriptions of a few possible remediation efforts.

About Navigation

  • Feature the program prominently on the university site’s home page. Students could not find information about the program because a link to its home page is hidden within a drop-down menu.
  • Display links in navigation menus rather than place them in drop-down menus.
    • We plan to do so, perhaps indenting the links of subsection pages. (Unordered lists are good for that.)
  • Within the left-navigation menus of the program’s pages, display a link to the program’s home page. When students got lost within the website, they said they wanted to start over by returning to the program’s home page.
    • We will do so. We will also consider adding a button with an image shaped like a house, which students said they associate with a site’s home page.
  • Do not depend upon breadcrumb navigation to help visitors navigate the site. Students and faculty did not notice the breadcrumb navigation until prompted. Faculty indicated it was useful once they were shown its function.
  • Do not depend upon links scattered throughout the content. They were not immediately apparent to students when they were asked to find specific information.
  • Do not depend upon a search box to help visitors. When asked to find specific information, neither the students nor the faculty thought to use the site’s search box. Doing so would be confusing anyway, faculty pointed out, because search results are derived from the university’s entire site, not just from the program’s portion of it.
  • Do not position navigation menus on the right side of pages. Students and faculty had to be prompted to notice them.
    • This is unsurprising. Web usability studies based upon eye tracking have shown people look at pages in an F-shaped pattern. One consequence is that they pay no attention to the right side of pages.
  • Consider consolidating the number of links in the left menus. Only their first few links were read by the students.
  • Consider reducing the number of choices on each page. For example, the large number of site navigation links were simply overwhelming to students.
    • We may have to develop a template for the program’s section of the university site that presents significantly fewer navigation choices.
  • Link course descriptions to professors’ profiles. We had set up course descriptions to be found by drilling down by year, then by curriculum, then by topic. That did not make sense to students.

About Content

  • Use a larger default text size.
  • Add a lot more pictures, particularly contextually-relevant ones to enhance comprehension of textual content.
  • Closely associate images to their relevant textual content. Example: The list of faculty includes pictures of them, but it is unclear which photo is associated with which professor’s name and description.
  • Provide faculty-specific contact information within their profiles rather than in a central location.
  • Continue to use bulleted lists. Students found such content easier to read; faculty found it easier to scan.
  • Embed videos, not just link to them.
  • Use a web form, not an email link, for visitors to submit questions and site feedback. Students indicated a web form would be easier for them. A faculty member pointed out that such a link will not work at all unless a visitor’s computer is configured to open email software once that link is clicked.
  • Determine a way to make program contact info apparent so visitors will contact the program, not the university.
  • Include content for current students, not just prospective students.
    • Such content is now in a PDF. We will likely convert it to a web page so students do not need to have special software (Acrobat Reader) to view it.

Notes

Struggling to Reduce Dense Content Into Chunks Without Requiring Multiple Clicks

2011/03/23

I am working on a project to make the website of a local university, which has a campus-based program for students with learning disabilities, more usable by them. The current site is designed for parents of prospective students and professionals who serve them. We anticipate our work will make the site easier to use and to understand for everyone.

Over the past few months, an adjunct faculty member has reduced the amount of content, simplified its language, and reorganized it. I created a functional site mockup to demonstrate that work. Yesterday, we showed it to a small group of students, then to a small group of faculty.

Dilemma

Our attempt to separate content into small chunks produced more pages. This exacerbated a problem experienced by the students, which was that navigating the many layers of the site is perplexing. Moreover, faculty indicated frustration with having to click many links to find desired information.

Example

The current first-year curriculum page contains short descriptions for twenty courses. For the mockup, we moved each description to its own page, reducing the curriculum page to a list of course titles. This design requires extra clicks to see course descriptions. As well, the groups indicated the curriculum page is still too long.

Solution?

We will next shorten the curriculum page by dividing it into sub-pages by topic. One- to two sentence descriptions of the courses under their titles may obviate the need for extra clicks to view more-detailed information. We will know if this has achieved any success only after testing with students.

Overall, I am describing an approach designed to resolve a larger dilemma. How can we provide information about the program in a simple way for students while also supplying a level of detail that may be required by professionals, parents, and even the students themselves? I suppose this is an adventure to find out.

Notes

Teaching People How To Enlarge Web Pages: Providing Feedback

2011/01/20

I believe it is common knowledge that providing feedback while teaching is very important. In particular, positive reinforcement consequent to successful performance is essential for increasing the likelihood a skill will be acquired (that a behavior will occur again). As it is my intention to teach basic Web skills via the Web itself, tutorials must be designed so reinforcing feedback is provided automatically.

A common way of designing such interactivity into Web pages is to use JavaScript. I met last week with a developer who is an accessibility expert. For many years, Rich Caloggero has worked for The National Center for Accessible Media and for The MIT Adaptive Technology Information Center. We anticipate building interactive features that, for example, would indicate to people they indeed pressed the correct keys, in the appropriate sequence, to enlarge a Web page.

It is my hope to approximate on a simple level the sophisticated feedback features that Dr. Janet Twyman, who is guiding me in this project, has had built into software for teaching children to read. From the beginning, she has stressed to me the importance of detecting and reinforcing the pressing of the correct key sequence. I will post the details of this effort as the three of us develop them.

Notes: This post is the fourth in a series about Teaching Web Page (Text) Enlargement. Please post a comment with any suggestions.

Google Video Teaches How To Make Text Bigger

2010/12/30

A new Web site, TeachParentsTech.org, was announced by Google recently. Its purpose is to teach basic computer skills to parents. See the announcement and explanation.

The site teaches exclusively via videos. Among the 50+ videos now on the site, “How to make text bigger (or smaller)”, embedded below, is included in the first group displayed on the home page. My guess is that’s because learning how to make text bigger is one of the most common skills parents (older adults for whom vision may not be ideal) request to be taught.

The video starts be reassuring the audience that the task is “super easy”. The skill is then succinctly defined. It is taught exactly how I intend to do so, in that the audience is shown how to use a two-key combination within a Web browser. There is perhaps one main difference between the video and the one I hope to produce for people with cognitive disabilities. I intend to show an image of a keyboard, focusing specifically on how to press the correct two keys, in sequence, to make a Web page (text) larger.

Notes:

Teaching People How To Enlarge Web Pages: Task Definition

2010/12/27

Many people need to enlarge Web pages to better see information. People with cognitive disabilities often require larger text sizes to better comprehend information as well.

To develop a best practice for teaching a Web page (text) enlargement skill, I will conduct in-person teaching to groups of people with cognitive disabilities. Specifically, I intend to teach people to use a keyboard with a Web browser to enlarge Web pages. Many browsers will enlarge pages in response to the pressing of two keys: the plus key and the Control key (IBM) / Command key (Mac).

Functional Objective

Given a Web page that may contain images, but must contain text, learners will press two keys to enlarge page content.

Outcome Measure

Learners will open a novel Web page and, without instruction or prompting, enlarge its contents.

Component Skills To Be Taught

Pressing Keys

Learners will:

  • locate the correct keys (2)
  • hold-down one key for at least 3 seconds with sufficient force to be recognized by the computer
  • hold down the one key and tap the other key by pressing it with sufficient force to be recognized by the computer, and immediately releasing it

Completing Sequential Steps

Learners will:

  • follow a multi-step chain of behaviors
  • identify the start- and end points of the behavior chain
  • repeat the behavior chain

Prerequisites

Learners must be able to:

  • respond to textual-, auditory- and/or video-based instruction
  • press keys with their fingers or with equivalent assistive-technology
  • press the correct keys only
  • open a Web page with Internet Explorer

Computers must be:

  • IBM-compatible
  • attached to a monitor and a keyboard or equivalent assistive-technology
  • using Internet Explorer as the default Web browser
  • connected to the Internet

Notes:


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