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Re: the Ruler - Rule question

From: Anne Pemberton <apembert@erols.com>
Date: Sun, 29 Jul 2001 16:53:01 -0400
Message-Id: <>
To: <gv@trace.wisc.edu>, <w3c-wai-gl@w3.org>
         The liberal democrat in me wants to vote for A, but the practical 
side of me says that B will be necessary.
If we go with A, people may take it to extremes and are likely to miss the 
intent of the guideline. I would even be happy with a sliding ruler that 
says, for example, that complex text needs to come down some in a simpler 
version or summary, but it may not be practical to expect a piece written 
at the 15th grade level (grad school level more or less), to be re-writable 
down to


At 11:18 AM 7/29/01 -0500, Gregg Vanderheiden wrote:
>Thanks Al,
>Excellent info.
>This raises an interesting question for us.
>If we did have a ruler for complexity of language (one that everyone
>agreed with)
>Would we
>a) Put in a rule that says "go as far down that ruler as you can"?
>b) Draw a line on the ruler and say "you must get below that line but
>don't need to go lower -- though it would be good if you did"?
>option (c) --   "you must have content that works for all on the rule"
>doesn't work since the rules must go down to 0 to include all.
>a) takes us back to the problem of 'no clear criterion'
>b) is what is usually done -  but is very hard to do without a consensus
>rulemaking body.
>What are people thinking?
>A?  or B?  or C?  or ??
>-- ------------------------------
>Gregg C Vanderheiden Ph.D.
>Professor - Human Factors
>Dept of Ind. Engr. - U of Wis.
>Director - Trace R & D Center
>Gv@trace.wisc.edu <mailto:Gv@trace.wisc.edu>, <http://trace.wisc.edu/>
>FAX 608/262-8848
>For a list of our listserves send "lists" to listproc@trace.wisc.edu
>-----CLIP FROM Original Message-----
>The idea of grade level as a metric with benefits for accomplishing
>accomodation of congnitive differences is quite real.  We will likely
>if we try to solve this ourselves but fortunately we don't necessarily
>have to
>take that on.
>There are professionals pursuing this as we speak.  This is an area
>where W3C
>and the WAI should be prepared to mostly 'follow,' as in "lead, follow,
>or get
>out of the way."  At least one education targeted activity we can look
>leadership from in defining a "cognitive challenge level, comparable to
>has been called grade level in the past" is the IMS Project.  We are not
>competitive with that group in taking on this particular piece of work.
>and Gregory are working with them on their access metadata schema or
>vocabulary.  Good to check if there is grade level stuff that can be
>from IMS in general, or if the access metadata effort has to get that on
>Compare this approach, where there are alternative sites differing in
>level all provided by one authoring activity, with Kynn's concept that
>(metadata) be used as the means to relate material at one grade level
>from one
>source with material at a different grade level from another source.  In
>case a search or catalog lookup process does the two-dimensional
>analysis of
>"same topic, better level" to find resources that the user is likely to
>There is a third approach where one passes a grade level parameter to a
>style view synthesis processor and for example there are explicit
>hyperlinks to
>explanatory resources attached to tough words and sentences for an
>appropriate definition of 'tough.'  There are inline ways like this to
>accomplish grade level accomodation, but they tend to involve setting
>thresholds that govern when one technique is applied vs. another
>glossary link vs. leave it to Atomica).  And they have limited ranges
>which they can accomodate, at the limits of which one has to flop over
>phase boundary into a qualitatively different strategy.

Anne Pemberton

Received on Sunday, 29 July 2001 17:20:54 UTC

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