Research Report on User Modeling for Accessibility. Online resource
Editors' Draft 27 August 2014
User models are abstract representations of user properties including their needs, preferences, knowledge, as well as physical, cognitive, and behavioral characteristics. The characteristics are represented by variables. User models are instantiated by the declaration of these variables for a particular user or group of users. Such instances of user models are called user profiles. A user profile captures the kind of information about an individual user that are essential for an adaptive system to behave differently to different users. User modeling can be used to enhance the accessibility of user interfaces by generating and adapting them according to the particular user needs and preferences represented as user profiles. Different approaches have been taken in this field but further research and development is necessary, in particular to address the need for standards to support the interoperability and portability of user models across implementations. More specifically, one of the main challenges of user modeling is the absence of a common approach for integrating user profiles that support different user models within individual implementations, and for migrating profiles from one implementation to another. This can be attributed to the broad variety of user profiles and the incompatibilities that can occur among them. For example, differences in user profiles can occur due to differences in scope of the modeling, source of information for the modeling, time sensitivity and update methods of the model (static vs. dynamic model). There are many other factors that further increase the variety of models. These factors will be discussed in the following papers' descriptions presented at this symposium.