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Re: Format for addressing grade-level content........

From: Anne Pemberton <apembert@erols.com>
Date: Tue, 31 Jul 2001 08:26:21 -0400
Message-Id: <>
To: Kynn Bartlett <kynn-edapta@idyllmtn.com>
Cc: Al Gilman <asgilman@iamdigex.net>, <w3c-wai-gl@w3.org>
I read the highlighted line in your note, and the answer came to mind 
immediately. The Nasa site we discussed a few days ago, with the story of 
the robot NASA is building that is like a sci-fi movie bot. The original 
text of the page was at a high reading level, so that the most technical of 
the audience was informed. But the included excellent illustrations, which 
made is more understandable to those who stumbled through the text - high 
schoolers, middle schoolers, and folks with mild dyslexia. The third grade 
text version is unfortunately unillustrated. If it were illustrated like 
the original, the usefulness of the site would extend down to First and 
Second grade, perhaps to Kindergartners.

I think we can look to the possibility of telling authors that they can 
achieve the effect of "reducing the reading level" (actually expand  the 
number of people who can use the site for the information) by adding 
illustrations ....  I may be theorizing here, because I don't know how we'd 
measure the amount of expansion of the audience other eyeballing and 
knowing what you're looking for ....  And I don't know if we can 
effectively say we know what to look for other than "I know it when I see 
it" ..


At 03:19 PM 7/30/01 -0700, Kynn Bartlett wrote:
>Looking at this in terms of Reef EveryWare's capabilities, I think
>the approach I would choose would be to require the author (or "an
>author") to supply alternative text content if they wish to deliver
>a "reading level"-based transformation.  It's hard to conceive of a
>way to automatically generate a "lower grade version" of textual
>content. (emphasis added.)
>I would suggest that a better solution is simply to forgo the idea
>of making "transformable interfaces" and instead just write to a
>simpler "grade level".  This can be accomplished through simply
>writing -well-, as well as linking in appropriate explanatory text
>and sidebars as needed.  Thus you won't need to do any textual
>content transformation, since it -all- should be "as accessible as
>we can make it."
>PS:  I think "grade level" as a measure of writing and reading skills
>       is a bad idea.  Linkage to specific "grades" in elementary school
>       can easily turn off an educated web developer; the danger is in
>       seeming like we are asking them to "dumb down" their words "for
>       stupid people".  In truth, it takes more "smarts" to write something
>       so that EVERYONE can understand it, and clearer, lower-level writing
>       is a benefit to all, not just specific audiences.
>Kynn Bartlett <kynn@reef.com>
>Technical Developer Liaison
>Reef North America
>Accessibility - W3C - Integrator Network
>Tel +1 949-567-7006

Anne Pemberton

Received on Tuesday, 31 July 2001 09:26:04 UTC

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