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provide greater support for people with cognitive, language or reading difficulties

From: WCAG 2.0 Comment Form <nobody@w3.org>
Date: Tue, 22 Jan 2008 00:59:23 +0000 (GMT)
To: public-comments-wcag20@w3.org
Message-Id: <20080122005923.22DB05F70C@stu.w3.org>

Name: Roger Hudson
Email: rhudson@usability.com.au
Document: W2
Item Number: Guideline 3.1: Make text content readable and understandable
Part of Item: 
Comment Type: technical
Summary of Issue: provide greater support for people with cognitive, language or reading difficulties
Comment (Including rationale for any proposed change):
Like many others, I have argued in the past that WCAG 2.0 does not provide sufficient formal recognition of the importance of meeting the needs of people with cognitive, learning or language limitations. I believe this is still the case with the current Last Call Draft. 

Given the Working Group\'s obsession with testability when it relates to Success Criteria concerned with cognitive and learning difficulties (a requirement that does not appear to be so fervently demanded when it comes to other disabilities), I recognise that the Working Group is never going to accept a general notion that web content should use clear and simple language that is appropriate to the needs of the audience (similar to WCAG 1.0 – 14.1). 

However, within Guideline 3.1, I feel that more should be done to help ensure that people with cognitive, learning or language difficulties are able to access web content which can directly affect their health and liberty. 

The \"Understanding SC 1.2.1 Captions\" document appears to recognise that at least some \"legal documents\" and \"instructional manuals\" might need to contain non-text synchronised media in order to assist comprehension, however there is no explicit requirement to include this material. While the issue of ensuring text equivalents are provided for non-text content is well catered for in WCAG 2.0, very little is done to ensure assistance is provided for web users who have difficulties reading or interpreting text.

The following suggested Success Criterion draws on the apparent acknowledgement in SC 3.3.4 that, with some web content the potential consequences of inaccessibility are greater. Even though I am not comfortable with the idea of associating cognitive, learning and language difficulties with reading ability, the suggested criterion uses the readability of \"lower secondary education level\" as a yardstick since it appears that this provides a degree of testability that is acceptable to the Working Group. 

Proposed Change:
The Working Group should consider including the following new Level A Success Criterion for Guideline 3.1:

3.1.* Understandable (Legal, Financial, Health): For Web pages that provide legal, financial and health instructions, warnings or regulations that are essential for the preservation of the individual\'s health and liberty, at least one of the following is true: (Level A) 

1. Readable: The text does not require a reading ability more advanced than lower secondary education level.

2. Text alternative: An alternative simple language version with equivalent information that does not require a reading ability more advanced than lower secondary education level is also provided.

3. Non-text alternative:  An alternative non-text version (for example audio or video) that contains equivalent information is also provided.
Received on Tuesday, 22 January 2008 00:59:30 UTC

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