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RE: 4.1 expert, general and non-reader

From: Lisa Seeman <seeman@netvision.net.il>
Date: Tue, 04 Jun 2002 12:29:42 +0200
To: jonathan chetwynd <j.chetwynd@btinternet.com>, jasonw@ariel.ucs.unimelb.edu.au
Cc: Web Content Guidelines <w3c-wai-gl@w3.org>
Message-id: <NGBBILMKELPGAHMOKABGCEMFCAAA.seeman@netvision.net.il>

This is something I was working out with Jason.

What is required by which site.

In ideal terms I would say that the only thing you are guarantied is the
ability to understand the subject matter.

Thus, figure out what cognitive skills are required for understanding of the
meaning of the page, assume nothing else.

So if the subject matter takes intelligence (an programming for example)
then assume intelligence, but not literacy or the ability to understand
non-visual or literal information. A lot of Engineers are LD and have some
autistic related impair mats (Asperses syndrome for example may be
especially prevalent among engineers)

A shopping site should assume that their audience understands what it means
to shop, and pay, for items.

If you are making a philosophy paper then you can assume the audience has
intelligence and the ability to understand abstract non visual concepts.
However one can still have hyperactivity or dyslexia and be in the audience.
Ironically I (an heavy dyslexic) have a love of linguistics, and the roots
and formation of language, So I guess dyslexia is everywhere. Hmm I guess
word game sites can forget about us. (ever plaid scrabble with me - no

In practical terms of course there is something else going on. We live in a
system of academic legitimization that is, to a large extent, dependent on
literacy skills. So people in academia, with communication and learning
disorders that effect literacy, must have gotten around it somehow. I chose
engineering, for example, in part because less literacy is required to
complete a degree. Does that mean i can not understand philosophy?
Absolutely not. It does mean that I would not have gotten into a philosophy
degree course without English or history A levels, and I could not get them.

However the internet is and can do a lot to change that. I know, for
example, a lot about disabilities and accessibility without having read a
book on the matter. Adult education sites "should" (my opinion) be working
to change this exclusion.

So I think you need to work out what cognition skills are required to be
interested (not qualified) in a subject and then you can assume that your
audience has thoughs skills. If we go with this approach, then we need to
construct a complete list.

Please note that in asking people to use simpler words:
-  this is only when meaning is not affected
- and this can be achieved through rendering markup (such as ruby or the
markup I am working on)

In engineering were a high frequency is not exactly the same thing as
"often", high frequency is the right term.

-----Original Message-----
From: w3c-wai-gl-request@w3.org [mailto:w3c-wai-gl-request@w3.org]On
Behalf Of jonathan chetwynd
Sent: Saturday, June 01, 2002 10:08 PM
To: jasonw@ariel.ucs.unimelb.edu.au
Cc: Web Content Guidelines
Subject: Re: 4.1 expert, general and non-reader

I think it is important that user testing is the criteria, who is to say
for whom the material is intended. This is too easy a let out, and
demeans us all.

Every topic worth discussing has a nugget that is of general interest,
and that is what we should encourage to be made available.
or  obscure papers that have nothing to communicate to everyone, will to
my mind never attain this. and why should they.

2 examples (backed by user testing) that clearly might have a level 3

many people have heard of einstein,  know of atomic weapons, and thus of
the relation between mass and energy,  a few could possibly quote his

a more concrete example is http://www.respond.org.uk/help/index.html

this is a brief document for 'discussion', it tries to reduce what is a
very complex issue, that of personal relationships, to a few words.
Obviously there are far more weighty tomes on the issues discussed, and
yet they would be the more valuable if they contributed something to
this version. Responsible authorities seeking level 3 conformance, are
well able to create such a digest, and should be required to.

Evidently one needs some means of identifying who the users might be,
and that remains to be discussed
expert, general, and non-reader(less than 30 words per page), may be a
reasonable reflection of our 3 levels of conformance, for the present.



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Received on Tuesday, 4 June 2002 05:28:02 UTC

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