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Re: Cognitive issues (was Re: woodcutter)

From: Charles McCathieNevile <charles@w3.org>
Date: Mon, 3 Apr 2000 09:40:16 -0400 (EDT)
To: Marja-Riitta Koivunen <marja@w3.org>
cc: Jason White <jasonw@ariel.ucs.unimelb.edu.au>, Web Content Accessibility Guidelines <w3c-wai-gl@w3.org>
Message-ID: <Pine.LNX.4.20.0004030934080.31685-100000@tux.w3.org>
Yes, communication only works if we are sharing some of the same script. But
we usually are - there is a lot of information on the web that is irrelevant
or meaningless to me, and I don't care if I have a way to understand it or
not. I do care if I have a way to know what something is about, so I can try
my scripts on it and see how to understand it.

I have a dyslexic relative who couldn't read a book in what we would call
real time until he was 25. At that age he could strip down and rebuild, with
the aid of a manual, any car engine he came across, and ran a number of large
nightclubs in Australia and China, developing training systems, management
procedures and manuals, etc.

I can stare at appropriately written Thai text for ever, but I will not have
any idea what it is about. If there are a few pictures, I will start to
understand whether this is something relevant to me, and if I want to do
something about finding out what this stuff is. It is not a perfect strategy,
but it is the difference between some level of access to the content and none
at all.

Charles McCN

On Mon, 3 Apr 2000, Marja-Riitta Koivunen wrote:

  At 04:43 AM 4/3/00 -0400, Charles McCathieNevile wrote:
  >I think an important point is that language is not the thing most central to
  >communication - having something to communicate is. It seems that many of us,
  >particularly those who have great skill using written languages, seem to
  >forget that easily.
  >
  To me a visual language is also a language and we do communicate a lot with
  it. But it needs to be learned otherwise the communication is not easy as
  so much need to be guessed.
  
  >I can go to many countries and get food and drink without speaking any of the
  >language. Sighted people use images for communication of ideas all the time -
  >where is the toilet, or the information desk, or what should I do at this
  >intersection, or how do I put my acme model aeroplane together?
  >
  This is because we very much share the same scripts. When you go to a store
  or a restaurant it has pretty much the same features everywhere, which
  helps the guessing enormously.
[and more sensible stuff]
Received on Monday, 3 April 2000 09:40:22 GMT

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