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Readability is broken

From: WCAG 2.0 Comment Form <nobody@w3.org>
Date: Fri, 29 Jun 2007 21:53:10 +0000 (GMT)
To: public-comments-wcag20@w3.org
Message-Id: <20070629215310.9AD1347BA3@mojo.w3.org>

Name: Jared Smith
Email: jared@webaim.org
Affiliation: WebAIM
Document: W2
Item Number: Success Criterion 3.1.5
Part of Item: 
Comment Type: technical
Summary of Issue: Readability is broken
Comment (Including rationale for any proposed change):
What methods and technologies could be used for determining conformance? There are many diverse measures for reading level. Why lower secondary education level? This seems a very arbitrary and capricious measurement.

Because of the testability requirement, this SC ignores the audience and the content creator\'s ability to develop content for a unique (as opposed to a generic) audience. Readers of some content (some technical information, Shakespeare\'s writings, quotations such as The Gettysburg address, etc.) would not benefit from a lower reading level alternative. These alternatives could even be less accessible. There is also cognitive load and difficulty in providing access to these alternative (see your own discussion on accessing alternative versions - http://www.w3.org/WAI/GL/2007/05/alternate-versions.html)

Readability (Level AAA) is absolutely the most important aspect of understandability. It\'s certainly much more important for accessibility and AT support than identifying language (Level A) or identifying errors (Level A). What good is an error if you can\'t read it?

This seems to have been relegated to Level AAA because the \"lower secondary\" test would not stand up at any other conformance level.

More commentary at http://webaim.org/blog/2007/06/27/wcag-20-polishing-the-rough-edges/#readinglevel

Proposed Change:
Change the wording to, \"Use the clearest and simplest language appropriate.\" Optionally, you could add, \"... or provide an alternative or supplementary content that does not require reading ability more advanced than the lower secondary education level.\"

\"Appropriateness\" of language is no less testable than \"equivalent information\" of alternatives in SC 1.1.1.
Received on Friday, 29 June 2007 21:53:12 UTC

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