W3C logoWeb Accessibility initiative

WAI: Strategies, guidelines, resources to make the Web accessible to people with disabilities

Easy-to-Read on the Web
Online Symposium 3 December 2012

Page Contents

Introduction

This symposium brought together researchers, practitioners, content authors, designers, developers, and users with disabilities to share research-based experiences, including examples, tools, concepts, and ideas, on how to make information on the Web easier to understand by different audiences. The symposium aimed to explore the user needs and state of the art in research, development, and practice to contribute to a common understanding of easy-to-read on the Web. It is intended to encourage the development of better guidance, support, and tools for developers, designers, and users, and to inform researchers, standards developers, and policy makers on how to better address easy-to-read on the Web. In particular, it is intended to analyze how to better connect, elaborate, and integrate the user needs in web accessibility guidelines and techniques.

Proceedings

[Draft] Consolidated Research Report

Research Report on Easy to Read on the Web, Editor Draft 23 January 2014.

Text Transcript of the Symposium

Text transcript of the online symposium on 3 December 2012.

Contributed Extended Abstracts

Easy-to-Read Guidelines and Impact on WCAG 2.0:

Tools for Easy-to-Read:

Workflow, Process and Services of Easy-to-Read:

Background

Providing information in a way that can be understood by the majority of users is an essential aspect of accessibility for people with disabilities. This includes rules, guidelines, and recommendations for authoring text, structuring information, enriching content with images and multimedia, and designing layout to meet these requirements.

This domain is commonly referred to "Easy to Read". Considerable work has been done in this field and different approaches, tools, and heuristics have emerged. This includes the development of different guidelines, rules, and recommendations such as those listed in European Standards for making information easy to read and understand.

However, more research is needed to better understand the accessibility needs of the users, to analyze the different approaches, and to propose a way forward in providing more comprehensive access to language on the Web.

In parallel, other research fields share similar goals or include complementary development. For example, research in usability on the Web contributed to the concept of Plain Language and the development of different methods and tools to measure readability. This domain also provides a wide spectrum of guidelines and methods to make the Web easier to use, such as design guidelines for homepage usability and international user interfaces. These invite investigation regarding overlap with the needs of users with cognitive disabilities.

The domains of linguistics and language technologies, including Natural Language Processing (NLP), have made significant progress in grammar & style-checking (sometimes called Controlled Language), translation, annotation, enhancement, and summarizing. Compelling research and sophisticated tools have been developed to support content authors and users, and there is apparent mutual benefit of further investigating the deployment of these tools in the domain of easy-to-read.

Finally, research and development in Augmentative and Alternative Communication (AAC) provides a related set of resources on user requirements, guidelines, methods, techniques and tools for the use of language, including the use of symbol systems and symbolic languages. While this primarily addresses a more specific group of users the research, experience, and tools from this domain could benefit easy-to-read for a wider audience.

But still easy-to-read on the Web today is first of all driven by day to day practice of translating information (on demand). More research is needed to better understand the needs of the users, to analyze and compare the different approaches, to come to a common definition, and to propose a way forward in providing more comprehensive access to language on the Web.

Further background is available on the RDWG wiki page on easy-to-read.

User Group

Objectives

The main objectives of this symposium are to:

Beyond these core objectives the symposium welcomes contributions addressing questions like tool support, research and development in linguistics, language technologies, and natural language processing as well as concepts and models for implementation of easy-to-read in practice.

Organization

This symposium is organized by the W3C/WAI Research and Development Working Group (RDWG). For information about RDWG, see the RDWG FAQ. If you have additional questions, contact Shadi Abou-Zahra (W3C Staff Contact).

Symposium Chairs

Scientific Committee