Providing graded help

From Cognitive Accessibility Task Force



  • Any standards for help?
  • context sensitive or general help

Challenges for People with Cognitive Disabilities

Can be critical

  • Often need real person help - on demand
  • Can get lost -how to close help and continue.
  • May have to remember help, close it and perform actions


Different potential types of symbols and language support For help text and key content

As a first step I am trying to determine different use cases and potential settings

Types of Language support

1. Restricted vocabulary

Language may be restricted to a given vocabulary, or sub set of that vocabulary. When words are outside the known language an explanation should be provided using known words.

Further, specific jargons can be added if they are known to the user

For example:

options -one of the following:

  1. Restricted vocabulary such as Globish
  2. Restricted such as Globish 100 most common words
  3. Restricted such as Globish 500 most common words + Easy Web Jargon lexicon

2. Usage

Any or all of:

  1. Literal language only
  2. Active voicing when possible
  3. Number-free when possible. Avoid, or give an alternative for use of numerals, text for numerals and numerical concepts
  4. Small chunks (short sentences, paragraphs etc)

3. Graphical support

options -one of the following:

  1. Symbolic images as support (pictograms or icons) with option of preferred set
  2. Realistic images (pictures or drawing) as support
  3. Either Symbolic images, pictograms or Realistic images as support

4. Types of symbols and pictures

options -one of the following: -Use a given symbol/picture set as preference (can include use my families or personal symbols/pictures were ever possible)

-Use a given symbol/picture set strong preference

-Hide content without symbol/picture support

5. Frequency of symbols/pictures

How many symbols does the user prefer (use judiciously depending on context and appropriateness for content). options -one of the following:

  1. Use support symbols/pictures as much as possible
  2. Use support symbols/pictures moderately (One per sentence)
  3. Use support symbols/pictures some (One per paragraph)

6. Help

Any or all of:

  1. I want tooltips
  2. I want side panel
  3. I want side panel that can be opened when I click on my help icon
  4. I want links to "more information" when ever possible
  5. I want definitions in the side panel
  6. I want link to human help whenever possible


  • Help should be easy to find and displayed on demand
  • Once user has finished with help it should be clear how to navigate back
  • Help content is subject to the same requirements as other content
    • eg should not be overwhelming or confusing or distracting
    • fully accessible - but is there conflict here?
  • how to handle different gestures - eg mobile has touch
  • mechanism for showing and hiding tooltips and help.
    • tool tips are difficult with touch as no hover
  • ??section in roadmap for user agent (browser)