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Re: [w3c-wai-gl] <none> - techniques for understandable content

From: Lisa Seeman <lisa@ubaccess.com>
Date: Fri, 05 Nov 2004 09:28:09 +0200
To: Avi Arditti <aardit@voa.gov>, John M Slatin <john_slatin@austin.utexas.edu>
Cc: Chris Ridpath <chris.ridpath@utoronto.ca>, WAI WCAG List <w3c-wai-gl@w3.org>
Message-id: <054101c4c30d$4c39bce0$2b49003e@IBMA4E63BE0B9E>


Firstly I would like to volunteer to help here

important notes of warning. The idea is not to write clearly, but to write
clearly for people with disabilities.

There are overlaps but there are also differences. For example, some
friendly text might be conmen usage but is confusing for people with SP. For
them longer words that says what it mean is easier to understand.

For dyslexia layout issues may well take precedence over wording.

Picture, in place of text, seems to be a winner, but you want to put
pictures in the right place. Overloading a page with too many pictures can,
for some people, make it harder to understand. For a symbol only page you
need to significantly reduce the amount of content.

There has been a lot of research on what actually works for people with
disabilities. I suggest reviewing it.
The best person I can think of contacting on this is Peter Ranger. He is
working on compiling all the different research on the topic into a single
resource. With your permission I will contact him.

I put a lot of info gleaned form this research into
http://www.ubaccess.com/ldweb.html.
Bill has an edited version of it at http://www.webeone.org/ldweb/

There is also effort to attach strong "how to" techniques to that document
that anyone can join. I am also trying to get some of the "section 508"
folks involved". The advantage being that there is no process involved
and _no_ one asking the question "why would I want to include people with
LD" - Just asking how.

  Keep well
L


----- Original Message ----- 
From: "Avi Arditti" <aardit@voa.gov>
To: "John M Slatin" <john_slatin@austin.utexas.edu>
Cc: "Chris Ridpath" <chris.ridpath@utoronto.ca>; <lisa@ubaccess.com>; "WAI
WCAG List" <w3c-wai-gl@w3.org>
Sent: Wednesday, October 13, 2004 6:26 PM
Subject: Re: [w3c-wai-gl] <none>


> Hi John,
>
> My friend Dr. Annetta Cheek was a guest of the Mexican government for
> the launch of the "people's language" campaign. With her permission, I
> am forwarding the report she sent to her bosses in the U.S. government:
>
> ... The Secretary of Public Function (a relatively new organization in
> the government) is sponsoring most of these initiatives.  They are
> starting a major plain language initiative, and invited several
> international guests for a kick-off week.  I was there along with a
> linguist from the government of Sweden, a linguist from academia in
> Spain, and a plain language advocate from the Plain Language Commission
> in Britain, a private sector organization.
>
> It was a terrific few days.  Aside from the fact that they were great
> hosts, it was exciting to see an attempt to start a plain language
> initiative with support from the very top of the government.  On Monday,
> the four international guests spent the day attending the Mexican
> government's first plain language workshop.  They asked us to comment on
> the workshop to make it better.
>
> On Tuesday, we took part in an event from 10 to 2:30.  In addition to
> our panel, there were speakers from the Mexican government and a short
> video of support from President Fox.  We were speaking to a crowd of
> about 1000 government managers. The four international guests were very
> pleased about how well our talks all fit together to make a whole, and
> we hadn't even collaborated on it.  The government sponsors were also
> very pleased about how it turned out.
>
> On Wed. we spoke to a small group of academics, to try to convince them
> it was important to teach good, clear writing in academia from the
> earliest grades.
>
> Aside from the terrific support this is getting from the government, the
> most exciting part of the trip was learning that all four international
> experts agreed on what techniques are important to plain language.  I
> had expected that, since Spanish is a more formal language than English,
> they would not be trying for sentences with an average of 20 words,
> eliminating passive voice, and using pronouns.  But both the professor
> from Spain and the workshop developed in Mexico advocated these
> principles, as did the representatives from UK and Sweden.
>
> Everyone also agreed on a number of other techniques, including focusing
> on the audience, structuring the document carefully, designing the
> document for an easy to read appearance, using informative headings,
> using tables and lists, and so on.  It was exciting to see the agreement
> within the international community, and talk to folks from different
> countries who are involved in plain language efforts.
>
>
>
> John M Slatin wrote:
> >
> > In a few days I will be starting work on General Techniques for
> > Guideline 3.1. I'll start by combing the WCAG and IG lists for comments
> > on this one, and talking with colleagues in various modern language
> > departments here and elsewhere. One important goal will be to come up
> > with techniques that make sense not just for English but for other
> > languages, especially non-Western languages. I invite those of you who
> > have expertise in those languages to share your knowledge and insight.
> >
> > I'm especially interested in learning about textbooks on writing and/or
> > other manuals, style guides, etc., for languages other than English.  In
> > the United States there is a large body of theoretical and practical
> > research on writing and writing instruction, and there are many
> > textbooks and guides.  There it will be helpful to locate such things
> > for other countries and languages-- and important to be mindful of the
> > limitations, such as languages and cultures where comparable texts
> > either don't exist or are much less common.
> >
> > I'm also interested in hearing from anyone who knows of readability
> > tests for languages other than English. Ditto for plain language
> > lexicons in languages other than English.
> >
> > Thanks.
> > John
> >
> > "Good design is accessible design."
> > John Slatin, Ph.D.
> > Director, Accessibility Institute
> > University of Texas at Austin
> > FAC 248C
> > 1 University Station G9600
> > Austin, TX 78712
> > ph 512-495-4288, f 512-495-4524
> > email jslatin@mail.utexas.edu
> > web http://www.utexas.edu/research/accessibility/
> >
> >
> >
> > -----Original Message-----
> > From: w3c-wai-gl-request@w3.org [mailto:w3c-wai-gl-request@w3.org] On
> > Behalf Of Chris Ridpath
> > Sent: Wednesday, October 13, 2004 8:48 am
> > To: lisa@ubaccess.com; WAI WCAG List
> > Subject: Re: [w3c-wai-gl] <none>
> >
> > > I would love to see some tests for clear writing...
> > >
> > This is a tricky one. I believe that there are tests for clear writing
> > but, to be accurate, they require a large amount of expert involvement.
> > There's also a very basic test, the FOG index, that gives a  rough
> > indication of writing style. Right now, I'm not sure how we're going to
> > test for this.
> >
> > I can perceive this requirement, clear writing, as an infringement on a
> > person's right to freedom of expression so it may be difficult to
> > enforce.
> >
> > > Not minimizing the real usefulness of this work, a lot of the tests do
> >
> > > not guarantee conformance or accessibility, but are a useful as a
> > > yard stick and as an alarm bell...
> > >
> > The goal of the test suite is that it can be used to test HTML content
> > to see if it conforms to the guidelines. I hope we can come close to
> > reaching that goal.
> >
> > Once the test suite is finished, I'd like to challenge authors to create
> > pages that pass the test suite but are still have accessibility
> > problems. And challenge authors to create pages fail the test suite but
> > are still accessible. This process should help ensure the test suite is
> > valid.
> >
> > > 3, puting the two points together. A sentence that has
> > > a, a low reading age score,
> > > b, a low number of conjunctions and comers,
> > > c, is short
> > > is probably clear and simple.
> > >
> > This seems to be heading in the right direction for it to be testable.
> > But it would still require an expert to examine the text. Is this the
> > sort of thing that guideline 3.1 means?
> >
> > Cheers,
> > Chris
> >
> > ----- Original Message -----
> > From: <lisa@ubaccess.com>
> > To: "Chris Ridpath" <chris.ridpath@utoronto.ca>; "WAI WCAG List"
> > <w3c-wai-gl@w3.org>
> > Sent: Wednesday, October 13, 2004 7:35 AM
> > Subject: [w3c-wai-gl] <none>
> >
> > > Looks like a lot of work Chris
> > >
> > > a few comments
> > >
> > > 1, I would love to see some tests for clear writing, which for English
> >
> > > there are a lot. Are you writing them? 2, Not minimizing the real
> > > usefulness of this work, a lot of the tests do not guarantee
> > > conformance or accessibility, but are a useful as a  yard stick and as
> >
> > > an alarm bell...
> > >
> > > The best yard stick is still testing your interface with people with
> > > disabilities. It would be a shame for people to reduce the amount of
> > > user testing. I would like to see something along thoughs lines as a
> > > footnote on each test page.
> > >
> > > 3, puting the two points together. A sentence that has
> > > a, a low reading age score,
> > > b, a low number of conjunctions and comers,
> > > c, is short
> > > is probably clear and simple.
> > >
> > >  Certainly failing these "testable" criteria is a good alarm bell that
> >
> > > you may want a rewrite. But to be safe, test with users with Learning
> > > disabilities
> > >
> > >
> > > Keep well
> > > Lisa Seeman
> > >
> > >
> > >
> > >
Received on Friday, 5 November 2004 07:59:25 GMT

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