This specification provides web content authors a standard approach to support web users who are persons with various cognitive and learning disabilities, including users who require:

This WAI-Adapt: Help and Support Module is a component of the WAI-Adapt series introduced in the WAI-Adapt Explainer document [[personalization-semantics-1.0]].



This document lists examples of the personalized help and support properties, this is an extension of WAI-Adapt Explainer, including the properties of literal, numberfree, easylang, alternative, explain, feedback, moreinfo, extrahelp, helptype.

WAI-Adapt: Help and Support Module

WAI-Adapt: Help and Support Module is the second part of the WAI-Adapt technical specification, which provides WAI-Adapt and vocabularies that can be used to mark-up web content with additional semantic information, enabling user agents to augment or adapt content to various user-scenarios based on the user’s personalization settings or preferences. User agents use these semantics to augment or provide alternative content tailored to the user’s specific needs — for example, a user who has dyscalculia will have difficulty understanding numbers and will have a hard time interacting with websites that use numbers to convey information. Therefore, critical numeric information must be provided in an alternative format that the user can understand.

Vocabulary Structure and Implementations

All the vocabulary in WAI-Adapt: Help and Support Module is constructed of properties and their values. Please see our WAI-Adapt Explainer.

The vocabulary implementations included in this document are available at our implementations wiki page.


Properties are the main units of WAI-Adapt types supported by the vocabulary. A given property supports a specific type of WAI-Adapt. That property would only be used once on a given piece of content, but multiple different properties could be used on the same piece of content to address different needs.


Values provide the specific personalization information for the property. The possible values for each property are elaborated in the definition of the property in the modules. Some properties require the value to come from a predefined list of possible values, others can accept arbitrary strings, and some may accept multiple values. The attribute value may be one of the following types:

ID reference
Reference to the ID of another element in the same document
ID reference list
A list of one or more ID references.
A numerical value without a fractional component.
Any real numerical value.
Unconstrained value type.
One of a limited set of allowed values.
token list
A list of one or more tokens.
A Uniform Resource Identifier as defined by RFC 3986 [RFC3986] It may reference a separate document, or a content fragment identifier in a separate document, or a content fragment identifier within the same document.

Note that the attributes and values in this specification do not overide the semantics exposed in the accessibility tree, but rather augment them. In the case of conflict between an element's semantics and the attribute values, validation algorithms should issue a warning but not an error.

Since implementations have not yet been finalized, any examples in this document are illustrative only, and are provided to help in understanding the concept. All examples will be updated once implementation examples are finalized.

Use Cases and Requirements

The Requirements for Personalization Semantics describes use cases and requirements. This module provides properties to fulfill those requirements related to adapting content.


This document uses a number of specific terms related to various cognitive disabilities and related user-needs. Those terms have been defined by the Cognitive and Learning Disabilities Accessibility Task Force. See the COGA Glossary for specific definitions.


Example Implementations

The Working Group is currently exploring different methods of implementing help and support in the context of the Personalization effort. The following examples are for illustration only, to assist in visualizing how this may work. The examples illustrate "large" amounts of alternative content, contained inline but hidden from traditional views. This content would be exposed to the end user on demand. For smaller pieces of content, additional information and support can be provided inline within the relative context of the content.

Currently all examples are implemented through attribute/value pairs. This does not imply that attribute/value pairs are the only implementation strategy. The Working Group plans to add additional examples using other mechanisms as previously indicated.

Implementation in different content sections

Inline Implementation

For small inline support and changes, attributes may be used.

Privacy and Security Considerations

This specification adds context information about content to the document, and should not affect security.

Although this specification does not expose personal preferences and personal information, third party user agents or proxy server(s) acting upon our semantic information may need to store personal preferences on how to present content to a specific user. It is recommended that any user agent or proxy server implements best practices to protect all personal preferences and personal information.

Any user agent with user settings are recommended to follow best practices to keep user information secure.

Acknowledgements placeholder