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4.1 reproposed

From: Avi Arditti <aardit@voa.gov>
Date: Mon, 16 Sep 2002 14:52:13 -0400
Message-ID: <3D86285D.E66C372@voa.gov>
To: w3c-wai-gl@w3.org

My action item: "repropose 4.1 based on communications today [Sept. 5].
ask people to focus on success criteria instead of checkpoint text."
I've read the 1.0 core techniques
(http://www.w3.org/TR/WCAG10-CORE-TECHS/#comprehension), as Wendy
suggested, and studied the latest internal draft of 2.0.

These success criteria remain a terrific struggle. I'm still not happy
with them. Suggestions (of the collegial sort) gratefully accepted. I
hope to come back with more ideas from the plain-language conference in
Toronto at the end of the month.

To restate the obvious, 4.1 has got to be delimited to address the
central weakness: testability. So I've started a checklist as an idea,
and in a style that could apply across language systems.  (I've written
them in a way suggested by a friend at the U.S. Department of
Education.)  If we proceed with this checklist, I could add items from
the long list that's been put together. Also, there's the techniques
list which could contain language-specific ideas and references. One
more thing: because of 3.1, I've focused on other-than-structural
elements.  So here goes ...

Checkpoint 4.1 Strive to write clearly [I know, focus on the criteria
first -- but any thoughts on this wording, the verb "strive" borrowed
from the 1.0 core techniques?]

You will have successfully met Checkpoint 4.2 at the Minimum Level if:
1. Portions of new content (especially directions, commands and options)
are written clearly to the extent those responsible consider
appropriate.

You will have successfully met Checkpoint 4.2 at Level 2 if:
1.Portions of new content meet at least several items on the following
checklist.
2.A conformance claim associated with the content asserts conformance to
this checkpoint at level 2.


You will have successfully met Checkpoint 4.2 at Level 3 if::
1.Significant portions of new content meet applicable elements of the
checklist.
2. Or, significant portions of new content meet elements of an
independently established set of guidelines for clear writing.
3. Remaining content is reviewed and changed as desired by those
responsible.
4.A conformance claim associated with the content asserts conformance to
this checkpoint at level 3.

Note: This checkpoint deals with the strength of writing to convey
information -- in other words, to help users understand. It is
consistent with the aims of a global movement to promote clarity in the
communications that affect people's lives.

Clear writing benefits everyone, but especially:
    -- those with cognitive disablities
    -- those whose ability to parse text is limited by screen readers or
other assistive technology
    -- those whose native language is different from the language of the
text

Clear writing does not have to mean simple writing. It is writing that
is appropriate for the purpose and the audience. The goal is not to
limit creativity or the scope of content. The goal is to encourage a
reduction in needless complexity.

How clear is clear enough? The answer will always vary by audience,
subject and context.  So too, ideas and techniques to communicate in
"plain language" vary from language to language. Ultimately, users may
be the ones who, through their actions and choices in viewing sites,
decide the answer.

Checklist:

1. When content gives directions or commands, does the text make clear
what the user must do?
2. When a term of address is used, it is clear when the user is being
addressed?
3. Would the writing style reasonably be considered clear by the
standards of the language and culture (public or professional) in which
the content is written?
4. Overall, is the syntax appropriate for eliciting the desired action
or response?
5. Overall, is the vocabulary appropriate for eliciting the desired
action or response?
6. Would the verb forms generally be considered easy to understand for
the intended purpose of the content?
7. Is a controlled language used?
Received on Monday, 16 September 2002 14:53:38 GMT

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