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Re: "maybe even in the fact that you use words as all," (sic)

From: Philip TAYLOR (Ret'd) <P.Taylor@Rhul.Ac.Uk>
Date: Thu, 17 Jul 2008 10:00:36 +0100
Message-ID: <487F0A34.2000103@Rhul.Ac.Uk>
To: Jonathan Chetwynd <j.chetwynd@btinternet.com>
CC: Bert Bos <bert@w3.org>, www-svg <www-svg@w3.org>, "www-style@w3.org" <www-style@w3.org>

Jonathan Chetwynd wrote:

> Re: "maybe even in the fact that you use words as all," (sic)
> 
> Bert,
> 
> but what about if you don't?
> like the relatively large community of people with learning disabilities.
> about 20% of people in the UK are functionally illiterate.
> 
> you can try out or watch a short video here:
> http://www.openicon.org


I'm not entirely sure what point Jonathan is
making here (I wasn't helped by the fact that
the subject line has intentionally been changed
from "Applying SVG properties to non-SVG content"),
but if (as I believe) he is asserting that people
with learning disabilities cannot/do not use words
(never mind "at all"), then this seems a massive
overstatement to me.  In my experience, people with
learning difficulties are helped if textual material
is presented in a simple and straightforward way, but
then Sir Ernest Gowers was arguing that such a style
is beneficial for all over fifty years ago [1](sadly
his advice is almost always ignored : "engage with
stakeholders to identify relevant issues and determine
materiality. develop internal frameworks for managing
the reporting process" is a genuine example of a style
of writing all too common these days ...

But then Jonathan goes on refer the interested
reader to http://www.openicon.org/, and at this point
he lost me completely.  Jonthan, are you suggesting that
(perhaps within a restricted universe of discourse)
icons can /replace/ text ?  If so, I would venture
to suggest that this is no more realistic than expecting
a person with learning disabilities to understand the
management-speak cited above.  Just as there are those
who find words difficult or opaque, so there are those
who find icons equally so, and I for one find their use
on (say) airline safety sheets, or instructions for
the assembly of something, a massive hindrance to
my comprehension thereof.

Philip TAYLOR
--------
[1] http://www.ourcivilisation.com/smartboard/shop/gowerse/complete/
Received on Thursday, 17 July 2008 09:01:23 GMT

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