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Objective Views 3.3

From: Lee Roberts <leeroberts@roserockdesign.com>
Date: Tue, 5 Feb 2002 09:00:25 -0600
To: "WCAG List" <w3c-wai-gl@w3.org>
Message-ID: <NFBBJHFEOLAGEICMIMBPCELLCBAA.leeroberts@roserockdesign.com>
ACTION: lr to look into research on objective conditions for the proposed
success criteria.

Handbook for Writers, Second Edition
Author: Lynn Quitman Troyka
copyright: 1990

The only version I have.

The Writing Process
Understanding the Audience
Understanding audiences for writing
"Good writing is often judged by its ability to reach its intended
audience."  "If you write without considering your readers, you risk
communicating only with yourself." (page 9)

"Experienced writers think about the background of their audience as they
write to inform or persuade their readers." (page 9)

Understanding the general reading public
The general reading public may or may not have a higher education level than
the writer.  If the writer provides a platform which exceeds that of the
general reader then the message will be lost.  The higher educated reader
may look at the work as less credible than they would expect.  "[T]he
general reader expects material to be clear and to be free of advanced
technical information.  Equally important, the general reading public
expects to be treated respectfully." (page 10)

"Do not ... use pretentious phrases" to get the message across. (page 10)

Understanding specialists as readers
"Specialists are members of the general reading public who have expert
knowledge on specific subjects.  In writing for specialists, you are
expected to know the specialty and also to realize that your readers have
advanced expertise." (page 11)  The specialist does not have to be a member
of the scientific community, a doctor, an attorney, or even a member of
government.  They can be a member of a society club, an amateur astronomy
club, horse enthusists, or any other fashion or faction that would imply the
specialist has specific knowledge about a subject.

Ordering Ideas for Writing
The Climactice Order
The climactic order, or emphatic, leads the reader from the least important
to the most important information.  Attorneys and politicials use this
format the most.  Typically an attorney in the closing arguments will lead
the jury from the least important element of the case to the most important
element.  A politician will lead the public down a path that eventually
emphasizes their main intent.  This type of ordering would be most

The Chronological Order
The chronological order follows the format the name implies of the
importance of time.  Novels and other literary works most often follow this

The Spatial Order
The spatial order presents ideas according to how they relate to the main
topic.  An essay on the how the FDA accepted asparthame and still rejects
stevia would easily follow the spatial order.

The Topic Formatting
The Thesis
The thesis starts with a generalization in the first sentence of the first
paragraph.  The thesis is finalized with a specific concept or thought in
the last sentence of the first paragraph.

The Paragraphs
The paragraphs of the body can follow several different formats.  However,
what is important here is the fact that the first sentence is not always the
main topic of the paragraph.

The first two sentences
Many times the first sentence does not carry the entire weight of the
paragraph.  The second sentence carries the topic further.  The remaining
sentences will then follow the topic of the first two sentences.

Topic sentence as the first sentence
The first sentence has been the typical placement of the topic sentence.
The following sentences would be the supporting information.  The last
sentence of the paragraph would be a transitional sentence leading to the
following paragraph.

Topic sentence as the last sentence
In persuasive and informative pieces the topic sentence would be typically
found last in the paragraph.  This allows the writer or speaker to move from
a generalization to the specific through a logical thought process.  This
particular format allows for suspense and drama to be placed into the

Topic sentence implied
"Some paragraphs make a unified statement without the use of a topic
sentence.  Writers must carefully construct such paragraphs, so that a
reader can easily discern the main idea." (page 89)

Paragraph Development
"[W]hen you know how to achieve effective paragraph development, your
material is far more likely to deliver its message to your reader" (page 91)

  a.. Reasons
  b.. Examples
  c.. Names
  d.. Numbers
  e.. Senses (sight, sound, smell, taste, touch)
"A well developed paragraph usually has only a selection of RENNS, so do not
expect yoru paragraphs to have all categories in the list.  Also, RENNS does
not mean that the details of development must occur in the ordor of the
letter in RENNS." (page 92)

Arranging a paragraph

The paragraph can be arranged in any of the following methods:
  a.. General to specific - starting with a general topic sentence and
building to a climax in the last sentence
  b.. Specific to general - starting with a specific or supportive
information and closing the paragraph with a general topic sentence
  c.. Climactic order - starting with the least important and ending with
the most important
  d.. Problem to solution - as the name implies starting with a problem and
ending with the solution to the problem
  e.. According to location (spatial order) - the paragraph progression
describes the order reveals how the elements are related to each other
  f.. According to time (chronological order) - refers to time and what
happened at specific times or during a specific time
Paragraph length
A paragraph typically contains at least three sentences and can range up
through seven sentences.  The "rule of thumb" presented by Lisa Seeman of
five sentences would stand.

Presenting information online and meeting Checkpoint 3.3 requires that the
piece meet the elements previously explained.  Writing based upon the
content requires that the content be evaluated and then provided in a means
that would still provide credibility to the content.  Writing beneath the
content only defaults the content's purpose.

As a reviewer, it is your responsibility to become familiar enough with the
subject to objectively review the content.  Simply because you, as the
reviewer, do not have the expertise to properly understand the piece does
not imply that the general public needs to understand it.  If the piece is
for general consumption then the piece must be understood by all, thus
requiring the lowest common denomiator effect.  If the piece is for
specialists, then the piece must be written as simply and clearly as
possible while still retaining its credibility.

Yes, each of the success criteria are testable.  While testing the reviewer
must become knowledgable in the basics of the subject.  This does not imply
that the review become an expert or a specialist in the subject matter.

Lee Roberts
Rose Rock Design
Building web sites accessible by EVERYONE
Received on Tuesday, 5 February 2002 12:00:20 UTC

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