Content simplification

James William Yoon jyoon at
Wed Jul 6 20:04:33 UTC 2011

Thanks, Hajer! Indeed, some of the guidance from your text that related more
to the presentation of the content (such as the reduction of background
images) made it into this iteration of the design, which focuses on the
reduction of excess, non-essential content. I'm also looking forward to
thinking about how we can encourage the creation and offering of alternative
content that's inspired more by the guidelines you outlined (this was
interpretation #1 of content simplification on the wiki page).

Colin, Michelle, and Antranig: I did a bit of digging into the HTML5 and
CSS3 specs to see if there were any convenient supports for the content
simplification. In terms of disable styles (re: the faded sections of
content), CSS3 has support for select disabled elements, and while it's
intended primarily for input elements, I don't think there's any reason why
we couldn't use it for non-input elements as well.

In short, it's used like so:

  <e disabled>...</e>
  <e enabled>...</e>

  e:disabled {...}
  e:enabled {...}

Naturally, we'll still have to manually define the disabled styles.

With respect to the prioritization of content sections and potential HTML5
supports for that: there isn't very much there that I found, but we can
certainly take advantage of the new semantic elements introduced in the
spec. <nav> (for both the global and content-local navigation), <footer>,
<section>, <header> and <hgroup>, <aside> seem particularly relevant for
this demo. I imagine there might be some vague semblance of tag
prioritization wrt to the order of which things get hidden (e.g., footer is
of near-lowest priority), but I imagine it might not be well-defined enough
to actually apply in practice.

I enjoyed reading this page about HTML5 semantics:


On Tue, Jul 5, 2011 at 2:07 PM, Chalghoumi, Hajer <hchalghoumi at>wrote:

> Hi all,
> Some weeks ago, I prepared this text on educational digital content
> simplification.  As I explain in the text, the work aims to help digital
> content developers understand a little more about how to make content
> accessible to students with cognitive limitations or low reading
> achievement.
> This work is vey parctical and has a solid research background. I think the
> guidelines it contains can be  complementary to those you are developping
> and to the existing ones dealing with physical, connectivity and interface
> levels of accessibility.
> Please have a look to it and contact me if you need any further info about
> it.
> Have a nice day.
> ________________________________________
> From: fluid-work-bounces at [
> fluid-work-bounces at] on behalf of Clark, Colin [
> cclark at]
> Sent: Monday, July 04, 2011 5:08 PM
> To: Fluid Work
> Cc: D'Souza, Michelle; Antranig Basman
> Subject: Content simplification demo
> Hi,
> James, Antranig, Michelle and I are experimenting with a demonstration of
> content simplification using UI Options and Infusion. Our initial idea,
> which we'd like to use as a practical starting point for examining the issue
> in more depth, is to provide a "simplicity spectrum slider" in UI Options.
> This slider will enable users to dynamically adjust the degree of
> distraction reduction in the user interface, media, content sections, etc.
> For our first iteration, the page's layout will be preserved, but users will
> be able to "turn off" distractions based on their personal needs.
> James has started some really nice wireframes here:
> Michelle, Antranig and I are going to dive in and start implementing this
> as a demo we can showcase during presentations about Floe and the GPII over
> the next little while. Here are some of our to dos:
>  * Look into new HTML5 semantics and see if there is a clear match with
> importance hierarchy
>  * Investigate strategies for automatic dimming of sections using CSS3
>  * Implement a static HTML page based on the wireframes
>  * Build multiple stylesheets within three categories:
>     1. The page's default look and feel
>     2. Some basic, out of the box "dimmer" styles
>     3. Page-specific refinements to #2
> Since we don't want to get in the way of the impending Infusion 1.4
> release, we'll fork UI Options work on this feature independently from the
> rest of the release.
> This really is just the tip of a very interesting iceberg, which we'll
> continue to explore as we dive deeper into the process of user interface
> personalization. I can imagine that, for example, we should be able to use
> this same importance hierarchy with the Renderer to produce simplified
> versions of a full HTML page tailored specifically for mobile, etc.
> Colin
> ---
> Colin Clark
> Lead Software Architect,
> Inclusive Design Research Centre, OCAD University
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