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Request for advise for reporting

From: Lee Roberts <leeroberts@roserockdesign.com>
Date: Sun, 3 Feb 2002 16:49:27 -0600
To: "WCAG List" <w3c-wai-gl@w3.org>
Message-ID: <NFBBJHFEOLAGEICMIMBPEELDCBAA.leeroberts@roserockdesign.com>
Would someone mind telling me how long I can make my report?  Currently, the
report is rather extensive and covers only proper writing conventions.  The
research report will follow and be extensive as well.

So far, in a nutshell for 3.3, the elements of  Checkpoint 3.3 - Write as
clearly and simply as is appropriate for the content - requires the proper
usage of writing conventions.

Success Criteria:
1. The audience is expected to have a wider range of educational levels and
background knowledge than expected.
    This point fails due to the nature of the content on specific
requirements.  Take for example, the W3 site, itself, has been written for
the people who afford themselves the opportunity to learn the various
languages required to design a web page.  The average reader would have no
idea what the term FOO means or the specific terminology of each language.
However, the person that has afforded themselves the opportunity to learn
may understand the terminology.

2. Language is used that your intended audience ought to be familiar with.
    This point implies that the works can be written to the level of
expertise the works have been designed to reach.  Others that wish to
benefit themselves with the knowledge would be required to gain an
understanding through alternate means.  This does imply that the alternate
means must be supplied.

3.  When introducing new concepts or terms, they are defined or annotated in
language that the audience should be familiar with or definitions or
explanations are linked to that might be easier to understand.
    This explicitly affords the author to opportunity to provide a detailed
description of new terminology or concepts.  However, it does not imply that
the author must provide definitions for the general public.  If we examine a
medical thesis and find that the author used the terminology that would be
familiar to the specialists, the author would not be required to furnish the
four to eight years of education required to gain the basic knowledge upon
which the thesis was formed.

Benefits (informative):
Authors should strive for clear and simple writing to aid all users,
especially those with cognitive, learning, and/or reading disabilities.
This should not discourage you from expressing complex or technical ideas.
Using clear and simple language also benefits people whose first language
differs from your own, including those people who communicate primarily in
sign language.

By following proper writing conventions the author will meet the success
criteria and provide the benefits to the widest range of readers.

Bob Regan mentioned that he edits an online journal for educators in
Portuguese.  Generally, the concept here would be that the person reading
the journal would have some formal training in education that allows them
the opportunity to understand the basic concepts.  If I were to introduce a
new training method, would I then be required to educate everyone again on
the basics before going into the new concept?  Certainly not!  However, the
new concept must be explained in detail.

If I were to explain how Marconi built the first radio would I have to
provide a basic understanding of electricity or electronics?  More than
likely the credibility of the piece would faulter because the basic
knowledge would be assumed.  If I were to explain how amonia and bleach can
safely be mixed the average person would kill themselves.  However, to the
trained professional the two compounds and their basic chemical makeup would
be understood and therefore, the concept would work well.  Legal Disclaimer:
By the way, this does not imply that I want you to go out and attempt this
and say that I told you it could be done.

The concept that every piece provided on the Internet must be written so
that the lowest common denominator of education and abilities must be met is
short-sighted at best.  The content must be provided in a manner that is
easily understood.  To define this element as one that requires the piece to
be written so that a first time reader can understand it defeats the purpose
of a lot of content.  People use the Internet for education and research.
To write in a manner that does not educate defeats the credibility, but
worse yet, it defeats the understanding of the reader.

Here's an example:
The electron runs through the path.  The electron comes to a bridge.  The
electron builds up some strength to clear the bridge.  It then finds a fork
in the road and decides to go right.  Upon going right it finds that it ran
into a dead end.  It can not turn around and go back because all the other
electrons followed it.

The electron travels through the conductive material.  The electron reaches
the capacitor.  Since the electron does not have enough charge to escape the
capacitor it must wait until it builds up a strong enough charge.  Upon
reaching the engineered requirements the electron escapes the capacitor.  It
finally comes to a NPN emittor biased transistor and reaches ground.

Which paragraph presents the information in the best possible way and meets
the success criteria?  You be the judge.

The writing conventions portion is much longer than this.  What is the best
way to present that information?  Should I simply put it on the Net
somewhere and then provide a link or should I include it in the message?
Please advise.

Lee Roberts
Rose Rock Design
Building web sites accessible by EVERYONE
Received on Sunday, 3 February 2002 19:48:35 GMT

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