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Re: Request for advise for reporting

From: Wendy A Chisholm <wendy@w3.org>
Date: Tue, 05 Feb 2002 18:26:03 -0500
Message-Id: <>
To: "Lee Roberts" <leeroberts@roserockdesign.com>, "WCAG List" <w3c-wai-gl@w3.org>

Thanks for your work.  Please send info either as an html attachment (unless it gets too large, say >200 kb) or in the body of an email message.  


At 05:49 PM 2/3/02, Lee Roberts wrote:
>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

wendy a chisholm
world wide web consortium 
web accessibility initiative
seattle, wa usa
Received on Tuesday, 5 February 2002 18:23:36 UTC

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