Understanding Contextual Information


The intent of this success criterion is to support personalization and support user preferences and user needs. This extra support will allow more people to use the web, communicate and interact with society.

For example, having familiar terms and symbols is key for users with a limited vocabulary to  being able to use the web. However, what is familiar for some users may not be for other users, requiring them to learn new symbols. Personalization could include loading a set of symbols that is appropriate for the specific user, ensuring that all users find the icons simple and familiar.

Technology holds the promise of being extremely flexible. The design of many systems includes the expectation that users will be able to optimise their interaction experience according to their personal preferences or accessibility requirements (needs).


This Success Criterion helps users who need extra support or a familiar interface, including:

We need personalization because:

This helps people with many different cognitive disabilities including people with:

Together this can affect 11% of school age people and over half of people over 60 years old - including those with mild cognitive impairments and Age-Associated Memory Impairment (AAMI).

Research on these benefits can be found at [@@need a proper URI and description: cudd-1] and the task force'sissue-papers on personalization and preferences. Also see theexample of an adaptive page


@@title Example 1

An example is a user can be a person growing older whose ability to learn new things has slowed down. This includes learning new interfaces, symbols, and designs. They may also rely on tool tips. So long as the design is one they know they can use the application and stay in the work force. When interfaces change, they may try to learn the new interface, but the cognitive load becomes too great and they need to retire.

For example, assume an author can make it programanticaly known that a button is used to send an email. At at the user end, the button could be renderer with a symbol, term, and/or tooltips that is understandable for this particular user. It could automatically imply F1 help that explains the send function in simple terms. It could be identified with a keyboard short cut that will always be used for send. In addition it could be identified as important and always rendered, or rendered as a large button.

@@title Example 2

In another example products for people who are non vocal often use symbols to help users communicate. These symbols are in fact people's language. Unfortunately many of these symbols are both subject to copyright and are not interoperable. That means end-users can only use one device, and can not use apps or AT from a different company. An open set of references for symbol codes for these symbol sets however, could be interoperable. That means the end user could use an open source symbol set or buy the symbols and use them across different devices or applications. Symbols could still be proprietary but they would also be interoperable.