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Re: 4.1 latest version

From: Maurizio Boscarol <maurizio@usabile.it>
Date: Wed, 29 Jan 2003 23:59:00 +0100
Message-ID: <003e01c2c7ea$045d6720$cf662a97@k7l2g9>
To: "Avi Arditti" <aardit@voa.gov>, "WCAG List" <w3c-wai-gl@w3.org>

Sorry for my bad english: I hope I can explain what I mean...

I remember my studies on text-comprehension and there are some critical
issue on checkpoint 4.1.

The comprehensibility of a text rely on many factors. Some of them are
implemented in some automated readability index you can find on most
word processor. But you may notice that they are not really useful. Text
comprehension depends on text purpose, audience ability, and, finally,
on contextual information. What is 'Familiarity of terms and language
'? It's very difficult to say in an objective manner.
Even the 'Length and complexity of sentencesof a phrase' is a
controversial question. In Italian language is considered bad writing to
use only short sentences. Better alternate short, medium and long
phrases and sentences as appropriated, but... when is it appropriated?

Some suggestions: text.comprehension are also influenced by two text
properties: coherence and cohesion.

Coherence: the fact that two contiguos phrases refer to the same
argument. A text is more difficult if the topic are changed often, or if
the subject is not clear and unique in contiguos phrases.

(i.e.: "I wrote a mail. The man was climbing me over."

Not so understandable, uh? What man? How does it relate to the fact I
wrote the mail?.. Lack of coherence.

Instead: "I wrote a long and articulated mail, trying to made it

The relation is clear. This is an extreme example, but I
hope you see the point)

Coherence: the correct use of lexical connector: and, but, furthermore,
then... And the correct pronouns used to refer to an object. It's a
language issue, not a content one.

I realize that this suggestion are also difficult to express in
checkpoint, but I think it's important to try to take advantage from
some well consolidated research results, and so I ask for your opinion

I don't know if they relate with accessibility of language, but in a
certain way I feel they should.

Hope this may help.

Maurizio Boscarol

>  Familiarity of terms and language structure
>  Length and complexity of sentences (shorter sentences, limited to
> idea, are generally easier to understand)
>  Length and complexity of paragraphs (paragraphs limited to one idea
> are generally easier to understand)
>  Use of summaries to aid understanding.
>  Accuracy and uniqueness of page titles
>  Clarity of headings and linked text when read out of
> context.
> You meet Checkpoint 4.1 at Level 2 if you review the
> content with items such as these in mind:
> 1) Use of sentence structures that increase understanding (such as
> active voice in English and other languages)
> 2) Length of noun phrases (strings of no more than three or four nouns
> are easiest to understand)
> 3) Complexity of verb tenses (simpler tenses are easier to understand)
> 4) Transparency of verb phrases
> 5) Familiarity of idioms or slang
> 6) Consequences of ambiguity or abstraction
> 7) Desirability of vertical lists in place of long paragraphs of
> information
> 8) Logic in the order and flow of information
> 9) Thoroughness in the explanation of instructions or required actions
> 10) Consistency in the use of names and labels
> 11) Clarity where the document:
> - addresses users
> - explains choices and options
> - labels options to get more information
> - instructs how to modify selections in critical functions (such as
> to delete an item from a shopping cart)
> 12) Usage of:
> - proper markup to highlight key information
> - goal-action structure for menu prompts
> - default settings (and the ease in re-establishing them)
> - two-step "select and confirm" processes to reduce accidental
>   selections for critical functions
> - calculation assistance to reduce the need to calculate
> You meet Checkpoint 4.1 at Level 3 if at least one of the following is
> true:
> 1. New material is tested with potential users for ease of
> accessibility
> 2. A controlled language is used
> 3. Support is given for conversion into symbolic languages
Received on Wednesday, 29 January 2003 17:46:15 UTC

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