Reinventing a wheel
Sounds like they're reinventing the wheel of additional accessibility aids, which have in fact been standard since HTML 4 / XHTML 1 in 1997/8.
Those never worked, because they relied on web deezyners to be proactive, and more importantly because they were never supported in mass-market web authoring tools.
The difficult task facing these "boffins" is one boffins are not always successful at: namely persuading everyone else to adopt an idea.
[comment inspired by Chris Dickens above, suggesting reinventing a wheel I instantly recognised from my own work developing web accessibility tools ( http://valet.webthing.com/ ) and in two relevant W3C working groups].