Creating a user-specific environment : the author implications

Our empirical survey shows that users with visual impairments find the sheer volume of information in typical web pages to be overwhelming and therefore sometimes refrain from using the web. By developing the concept and use of the Essentiality and Proficiency Tool we allow the user to personalise the content they view with the level of essentiality specified by both the author and the user. Hence in this paper we explore one method of rating essentiality and the application of the essentiality levels to web content. The author is given the task of ensuring that the most essential content is relayed to the user given the user's preferences for volume. We present one such example of the author rating the content and the implications. The tool allows the user to personalise content based upon how much information is required or acceptable, by selecting a band of 'essentialities', the user's 'proficiency'. This is then matched with how ‘essential’ the designer feels are various areas of the content. Together this collaborative importance rating determines the presentation of the content. Hence the importance of this tool lies in the collaboration of the essentiality level set by both the author and the user, resulting in just the right amount of content (determined by the user) conveying just the right amount of detail (determined by the author).