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Shriver Center IT expert to present on text simplification and user experience at HCI International 2016 conference


An IT expert at UMass Medical School’s Eunice Kennedy Shriver Center will present about simplifying web text for people with intellectual disabilities and understanding user experience at the HCI International 2016 conference July 17-22 at the Westin Harbour Castle Hotel in Toronto.

“Text Simplification and User Experience” will be presented by John Rochford, MS, director of the INDEX program at UMass Medical School’s Shriver Center, and five co-presenters from Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI). Rochford also is an instructor in UMass Medical School’s Department of Family Medicine and Community Health. The presentation will be given from 10:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. Wednesday, July 20.

The presenters will discuss the use of text simplification to improve the acceptance of information and communications technology (ICT) by people with intellectual disabilities, and the role eye tracking plays in better understanding user behavior and the difficulties people with cognitive disabilities have with such tasks as reading.

The WPI co-presenters are: Soussan Djamasbi, PhD, MS, Abigail DaBoll-Lavoie, BS, Tyler Greff, BS, and Jennifer Lally and Kayla McAvoy, both students at WPI.

Rochford has been developing accessible ICT since 1992. He is currently the project lead on a Shriver Center study to determine whether simplifying text for people with cognitive disabilities improves their comprehension of the information they read on websites. The Shriver Center has partnered with WPI, IBM and UMass Boston on the study.

Rochford is an invited expert on the World Wide Web Consortium’s (W3C) Cognitive and Learning Disabilities Task Force. He also is co-founder and a co-organizer of the Boston Accessibility Group, which holds annual conferences and monthly meetings to teach developers how to make ICT accessible to people with disabilities.

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