UMass Medical School researches text simplification to make websites more accessible for persons with cognitive disabilities

Researchers from the UMass Medical School’s Eunice Kennedy Shriver Center are seeking to determine whether simplifying text for persons with cognitive disabilities improves their understanding of online contents. The project consists in leveraging the computing and natural-language processing capabilities of a supercomputer to automatically process information and present it in a more accessible format.

The study consists in asking age 17 participants with intellectual disabilities to read texts from websites in their first language. Two passages will be simplified and two will not be modified. In the end researchers will evaluate the effect of simplification on the overall comprehension of the texts.

With the collaboration of IBM, UMass Boston and the Worcester Polytechnic Institute, this research sums up to current World Wide Web Consortium’s (W3C) work to produce accessibility standards for persons with cognitive and physical disabilities.

Additional Sources: GAATES