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19 November 2012]

WAI R&D Symposia » Text Customization Home » Call for Papers

Call for Papers


The W3C WAI Research and Development Working Group (RDWG) invites you to contribute to the online symposium on text customization for readability.
Symposium date: 19 November 2012
Abstract submission date: 24 September 2012

Accepted papers will be published online in an attributable form as part of the symposium proceedings. Authors of accepted papers will be invited to participate in the symposium panel.


This symposium brings together researchers, practitioners, and users with disabilities to explore the needs of people with low vision, dyslexia, and other conditions and situations that impact reading. It promotes new research, ongoing research, and analysis of past research related to text customization for readability. The goal is to encourage user agent developers, standards developers, policy makers, web designers, and others to provide specific functionality in mainstream web products by helping them better understand and implement text customization.

See the main Text Customization for Readability Symposium page for Background, User Group, and Objectives.

Important Dates

  • 24 September 2012: Deadline for paper submissions
  • 12 October 2012: Author notifications
  • 23 October 2012: Deadline for final HTML publication-ready paper submissions
  • 5 November 2012: Registration opens
  • 19 November 2012: Online symposium event, probably 15:00-17:00 UTC


This symposium focuses specifically on text customization requirements and functionality, that is, providing users the ability to change (or personalize) various aspects of text formatting to improve readability for their particular needs.

Users: The primary focus is on people with disabilities. (See the User Group section of the main page.) However, relevant studies in related areas � such as older web users, people with low literacy, and situational issues (e.g., reading in low light) � are in scope if the information is also applicable to people with disabilities.

Tools: Research on assistive technologies and specialized tools for allowing users to customize text is in scope, to inform potential inclusion of text customization functionality in mainstream products.

Technologies: The primary technology focus is on web browsers, media players, and plug-ins such as PDF Reader, Flash, Silverlight, QuickTime. Papers related to other technologies, such as eBook readers, are in scope if the information also is applicable to web technologies.

Related Topics, Out of Scope

The following are out of scope of this topic: what is the optimum font and format for text (see The Need for Text Customisation), legibility (see Readability Beyond Legibility), the impact of things like moving ads on a web page distracting from reading, and reading level.

An upcoming symposium on Easy-to-Read on the Web will address other related topics.


We invite researchers, practitioners, users, and others to submit research and position papers that address the following issues and challenges:

  • Understanding text customization needs and requirements
    • What aspects of text customization improve readability? How do they help?
    • Which aspects of text customization are necessary requirements for people to be able to read effectively, and which are optional suggestions to improve readability?
    • What are the gaps in knowledge of users' needs for text customization?
  • Integrating text customization functionality and requirements
    • How well do existing text customization functionality and interfaces support users' needs?
      • What text customization functionality is provided in current products?
      • How do users interact with text customization features? Which do they use, which do they not use, and why?
    • How effectively do user agents (web browsers, etc.) and web content share the responsibility for text customization?
  • Moving forward
    • How might we increase awareness of the need for text customization, and the benefits?
    • What text customization functionality should be included in products in order to meet users' needs?
    • How can we improve discoverability and usability of text customization features in products?
    • How should text customization requirements be better addressed in accessibility guidelines, web standards, and other best practice guides?
    • What areas of research show promise to inform and evolve text customization for readability?

We particularly welcome submissions that describe:

  • Empirical (lab-based or ethnographic) studies of people with low vision, dyslexia, and other conditions that impact reading � including awareness of text customization functionality, adaptive strategies used, and parameters for improving text customization functionality to meet needs.
  • Evaluations of the scope, usability, and effectiveness of text customization functionality provided by user agents (natively or as extensions/add-ons), assistive technologies, or web content.
  • Specific recommendations for user agent developers, standards developers, policy makers, web designers, and others to include text customization functionality in mainstream web products.
(Additional questions are available from an internal planning page.)

Paper Submission

Paper submission closed on 24 September 2012.

Papers should be extended abstracts of about 1,000 words. We encourage concise contributions that are scientifically sound with appropriate references. Papers should clearly explain the:

  • Problem addressed
  • Relevant background
  • Approach - how was the problem addressed, what methodologies were used, what strategies were pursued to address the problem
  • Challenges - major obstacles or difficulties found during the process or that could be encountered in the way forward
  • Outcomes
  • Future research

Papers must be submitted in the template provided, be valid HTML, and meet WCAG 2.0 Level AA.

Review Process

Contributions will be reviewed by the Scientific Committee and each paper will get at least three independent reviews for criteria including relevance, clarity, soundness and power of the arguments, understanding of user needs, and contribution to knowledge about text customization for readability. Papers will be accepted based on this criteria and space availability.

Accepted papers will be published online in an attributable form as part of the symposium proceedings.
(For more information, see the FAQ sections RDWG Publications and RDWG Practice for Writership and Credits.)

The Symposium Report will be published under the W3C Document License. Paper authors shall grant W3C a perpetual, non-exclusive, royalty-free, world-wide right and license to copy, publish, use, and modify the contribution and to distribute the contribution under a BSD License or one with more restrictive terms, as well as a right and license of the same scope to any derivative works prepared by the W3C and based on, or incorporating all or part of the contribution. The Contributor further agrees that any derivative works of this contribution prepared by the W3C shall be solely owned by the W3C.