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RE: CLear and simple language 4.1 note

From: john_slatin <john_slatin@forum.utexas.edu>
Date: Tue, 18 Jun 2002 06:45:18 -0500
Message-ID: <6AC4E20EED49D411941400D0B77E52F0074B9266@forum.cc.utexas.edu>
To: "'Charles McCathieNevile'" <charles@w3.org>, Gregg Vanderheiden <GV@trace.wisc.edu>
Cc: w3c-wai-gl@w3.org

When we start thinking about success criteria such as the one Charles refers
to below-- "one idea per paragraph," with the first sentence summarizing
it-- we are talking about ideas of writing that are (or used to be) taught
in this country at 7th and 8th grade levels.  We also seem to be ignoring
what colleagues in fields such as rhetoric & composition and technical
communication can offer us about both structuring documents and making their
structures evident.  
I am actually more comfortable with checkpoint wording that includes
something about appropriateness to the purpose of the document, for reasons
I've already stated often enough so that no one will want to hear them
again.  I will talk to some of my colleagues in tech comm when I return from
vacation to see if I can come up with concrete suggestions for success
criteria instead of just whacking away at other people's proposals.  But
that will be when I get back from vacation, unless I happen to run into a
tech commie here...


-----Original Message-----
From: Charles McCathieNevile [mailto:charles@w3.org]
Sent: Tuesday, June 18, 2002 5:04 AM
To: Gregg Vanderheiden
Cc: w3c-wai-gl@w3.org
Subject: Re: CLear and simple language 4.1 note

I would like to re-propose that we drop the bit about "appropriate for the
content" since this seems to lead people to assume that it is OK to use
complex language (even unnecessarily complex language) to talk about complex

And agree with Gregg that we should be saying something like "Use clear and
simple language" - my original proposal at
http://lists.w3.org/Archives/Public/w3c-wai-gl/2002AprJun/0332 suggested
language that is easy to understand".

The success criteria, naturally enough, should include the fact that any
simplification still conveys what the author is trying to say. And I think
that some of the things we talk about as requirements for documents, such as
having a discernible structure, are also success criteria at the level of
language use. For example the proposed criterion of one idea per paragraph,
with the first sentence sumarising it, is a lot like having a document that
uses headings to convey soome sense of the meaning of each section.



On Mon, 17 Jun 2002, Gregg Vanderheiden wrote:

  In compiling our notes from our teleconference last week, I realized
  that one of the things we had talked about was items that contributed to
  clear and simple writing, but that really belonged to other checkpoints.
  Items such as:

  - Structure your document well.
  - Emphasize the structure.
  - Include illustrations, etc.

  It occurred to me that, perhaps we are wording 4.1 wrong.  Rather than
  saying write as clearly as simply, perhaps the 4.1 should really be
  talking about "Use clear and simple language".

  I believe that this was a comment made by others earlier, but we somehow
  didn't pick up on it the teleconference today.

  Should we be changing this one to:

  "Use language which is as clear and simple as [appropriate or possible]
  for the purpose of the content."


  -- ------------------------------
  Gregg C Vanderheiden Ph.D.
  Professor - Human Factors
  Depts of Ind. Engr. & BioMed Engr.
  Director - Trace R & D Center
  University of Wisconsin-Madison
  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

Charles McCathieNevile    http://www.w3.org/People/Charles  phone: +61 409
134 136
W3C Web Accessibility Initiative     http://www.w3.org/WAI  fax: +33 4 92 38
78 22
Location: 21 Mitchell street FOOTSCRAY Vic 3011, Australia
(or W3C INRIA, Route des Lucioles, BP 93, 06902 Sophia Antipolis Cedex,
Received on Tuesday, 18 June 2002 07:45:20 UTC

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