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Re: Evaluation results: Readability

From: Charles McCathieNevile <charles@w3.org>
Date: Sun, 14 Mar 1999 14:58:08 -0500 (EST)
To: Wendy A Chisholm <chisholm@trace.wisc.edu>
cc: Chetz Colwell <c.g.colwell@herts.ac.uk>, w3c-wai-gl@w3.org
Message-ID: <Pine.LNX.4.04.9903141441030.28952-100000@tux.w3.org>
My responses with CMN:

On Sun, 14 Mar 1999, Wendy A Chisholm wrote:

  
  Chetz's comment marked with CC::, my responses with WC::
  
  CC::
  >Participants tended not to read all the text of each Guideline / Technique,
  >but to skim it.  This meant that some important information was missed.
  >
  >Potential solution:
  >* It was suggested that the text could be in shorter phrases and bullet
  points.
  >
  WC::
  We have been trying to make the phrases as short as possible.  More strides
  towards this end were hopefully made in the last version, as editing still
  continues.  We welcome all  proposals for particular changes!
  
CMN:
The checklist is designed to provide some accommodation for people who do
this. However,  the short answer is that people must read the document to
understand it completely, and probably need to understand it completely if
they are going to use it effectively. There are no completely satisfactory
ways I know of for catering to people who won't read the whole document,
and I would be strongly against any suggestion that tried to do so. If the
comment is merely about the format of the document, then there is an
editorial problem - we are obliged to have one version of the document,
and providing everything in both bullet point form, and in explanatory
prose of a more extended nature, would make the document unwieldy (it
would not require reading both forms). In which case my personal 
preference is for prose, but it is an editorial decision.

  CC::
  >Related problem: Different presentations.
  >Some Participants said that they prefer to read long documents from paper,
  >rather than on-line.  Previous work by Andrew Dillon (1994) has indicated
  >that it can be more difficult to read from the screen.
  >
  >Potential solutions:
  >* Could a printed version be provided?  This would not be a trivial task:
  >it would lose its hypertext nature; all links would have to be replaced by
  >references, etc.
  >
  WC::
  We provide a zipped version, a postscript version, and a PDF version.
  
CMN:
Most people can print from their browser without needing any other
versions. W3C policy is that there is one official version of a document,
which is specified by a URI and is therefore online, and which is in
English. Any other version - an archived copy, a printed version, a
translation, is not authorative. People can, and do, print versions for
their own convenience, which is why htere is the caveat in the 'available
versions' section.

  CC::
  >* If the Guidelines and Techniques were broken into smaller files, with
  >links between sections, and had more bullet points it may reduce the burden
  >of reading it on-line.  It would also reduce the current loading time of
  >the pages.
  >
  WC::
  how do you suggest we break up the document into smaller files?  each
  guideline in its own file?  each technique section?  could you create a
  prototype of how this would look?
  
CMN:
This would further complicate reading the document - many people find
it very difficult to thoroughly read a non-linear document. As Chetz has
pointed out, the linear version is alreday difficult to read, and people
would like it to be simplified. My personal feeling is that having a
single complete document makes referencing more intuitive and makes it
clear that all the guidelines apply at the same time, and there are
many implicit cross-references, which seems to be a
point easily missed.

  CC::
  >Related problem: bold text
  >Each Guideline is made up of ordinary text, bold text, and links, which in
  >combination can make the text difficult to read.  The bold text is used to
  >highlight the text of the Guideline, to indicate the groups of users
  >affected, and to emphasise particular information.
  >
  >Potential solution:
  >* The groups of users affected could be listed at the beginning or the end
  >of the Checkpoint.  This would remove the distraction of the bold text, for
  >example the second paragraph of Guideline 1 could read:
  >"If text equivalents are not provided for visual information, the following
  >groups will not know the purpose of the visual components of the page.
  >People who:
  ><list item> are blind,
  ><list item> have low vision,
  ><list item> cannot view graphics,
  ><list item> have chosen not to view graphics."
  >
  WC::
  good idea. we will look into this.  
  
  CC::
  >* Where bold text is used for emphasis, such as paragraph 3 of Guideline 2,
  >it could be removed altogether where the points are repeated in the
  >Checkpoints.
  >
  WC::
  other people have made this comment as well.  We are currently removing
  much of the use of bold text.
  
  CC::
  >* The links in each Guideline could also be listed separately from the text
  >of the Guideline, so that an author can more easily read to the end of the
  >Guideline, then follow links (as mentioned in our previous message
  >regarding navigation).  This would mean each Guideline and Checkpoint would
  >be structured thus: its current text, none of which would be bold, with the
  >groups of users and links listed at the end.
  >
  WC::
  yes, we agree with your previous message.
  
  CC::
  >By the way, some bold text is presented using <b>, others with <strong>.
  >Is this intentional?
  >
  WC:: no, this is not intentional.  
  
  
   
  

--Charles McCathieNevile            mailto:charles@w3.org
phone: +1 617 258 0992   http://www.w3.org/People/Charles
W3C Web Accessibility Initiative    http://www.w3.org/WAI
MIT/LCS  -  545 Technology sq., Cambridge MA, 02139,  USA
Received on Sunday, 14 March 1999 14:58:18 GMT

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