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Gaps: (1) Language Readability, (2) Privacy

From: <nir.dagan@econ.upf.es>
Date: Sat, 24 Oct 1998 14:59:07 +0200
Message-Id: <H0000e2200cb4970@MHS>
TO: ehansen@ets.org
CC: w3c-wai-gl@w3.org
I do not think that the WAI guidelines should become a general guide  
to good authoring/writing/web-publishing.

I can't see any relation to the suggestions below and accessibility.
Next tell people to spell check and grammar check their documents, and not use
use rude words.

Regards,
Nir Dagan
http://www.nirdagan.com

> Re: Gaps in Page Authoring Document
>  
> I think that there are a couple of gaps in the page authoring document --  
> one having to do with the readability of language and the other with  
> privacy of personal information.
>  
> The gaps would not be so serious if the document were addressed only to Web  
> designers and HTML coders who take the content and put it on the Web. The  
> document is addressed to "page authors," i.e., "Those who are creating Web  
> pages." (Appendix B. Definitions), and would logically include content  
> providers, individuals who create the written and other content to put on  
> the Web.
>  
> 1. Language Readability
>  
> The gap might be filled by something like: "Ensure readable language."  
>  
> I suppose that it should be a priority 2 or 1 guideline.
>  
> Tips for achieving this might include:
>  
> Follow these writing suggestions:  
>  
>  Strive for clear and accurate headings and link descriptions. Scrutinize  
> every heading, outline, and menu to see if the crucial words mean exactly  
> what is intended, and if there is a more common word that would convey the  
> same meaning.
>  State the topic of the sentence or paragraph at the beginning of the  
> sentence or paragraph.
>  Limit each paragraph to one main idea.
>  Avoid difficult vocabulary and technical jargon.
>  Avoid specialized meanings of familiar vocabulary, unless explanations  
> are provided.
>  Avoid the passive voice.  
>  Avoid complex sentence structure.
>  Make link phrases terse and meaningful when read out of context.  
>  
> Optimize pages for scanning. Because people tend to scan rather than read  
> Web pages, the quality of headings is particularly important. Good headings  
> will at least get people to a section that has the information they need.  
> From there they can go to a dictionary or even print out a section and ask  
> for help.
>  
> Rationale: Lack of readability of language presents a major challenge,  
> especially for individuals who are deaf or have learning disabilities. One  
> can readily understand that language complexity might reduce the  
> accessibility of language for an individual with a learning disability, but  
> what about individuals who are deaf or hard of hearing? It is obvious that  
> people with hearing losses find it difficult or impossible to sense audio  
> input. Yet the average deaf high school graduate has a considerably lower  
> reading level than a typical hearing counterpart. Many deaf and hard of  
> hearing individuals do not attain full mastery of English and function much  
> as do second-language learners of English the language.
>   
> Specific problems include difficult vocabulary and sentence construction,   
> misleading headings, missing information, hidden information, poor  
> organization, etc. Some of these shortcomings can be overcome by a user  
> with excellent language or inferencing skills, but especially when an  
> individual has a hearing loss, a learning disability, or uses English as a  
> second language, these shortcomings can entirely prevent Web information  
> from being usable. Note this guideline refers to the nature of language  
> used -- the cognitive accessibility of the content in contrast to its  
> sensory accessibility.
>  
> Ensuring readable language can benefit nondisabled users as well. Former  
> Sun Microsystems researcher Jakob Nielsen found that by rewriting content  
> according to certain guidelines, the measured usability of the content by  
> readers doubled. (www.useit.com/papers/webwriting/writing.html)
>  
> 2. Privacy of Personal Information
>  
> "Inform the user how personal information will be used."
>  
> One Web user declined to fill out information about his disability on a  
> scholarship search form because he was concerned that the information would  
> be given to institutions to which he was applying to graduate school. This  
> concern impeded his full use of the service.
>  
> I can provide further suggestions on this issue if desired. I consider it  
> less critical than the language readability issue.
>  
> =============================
> Eric G. Hansen
> Development Scientist
> Educational Testing Service
> ETS 12-R
> Rosedale Road
> Princeton, NJ 08541
> (W) 609-734-5615
> (Fax) 609-734-1090
> Internet: ehansen@ets.org  
Received on Saturday, 24 October 1998 08:59:26 GMT

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