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Re: simple & understandable

From: Charles McCathieNevile <charles@w3.org>
Date: Fri, 18 Jun 1999 11:26:02 -0400 (EDT)
To: Jamie Fox <jfox@fenix2.dol-esa.gov>
cc: "'Anne Pemberton'" <apembert@crosslink.net>, "w3c-wai-ig@w3.org" <w3c-wai-ig@w3.org>
Message-ID: <Pine.LNX.4.10.9906181111460.12150-100000@tux.w3.org>
I think that while 'simple and understandable' is always going to end up
being a subjective judgement, it is still possible and reasonable to say it
is a requirement, as far as it is possible. There are a number of techniques
and approaches that can be quickly explained in plain language. After all,
saying "ensure a fleisch rating in the seventy-fifth or greater percentile"
is not very clear to most people, but "use common language, and where a
technical term or a specific meaning for a common word is necessary provide a
definition" gives most writers the information they need.

There is a difference between simplifying things and removing information,
and there is a limit to any person's ability to express something in simpler,
clearer language. The point is that accessibility to cognitively disabled
people requires us to reach for, and to extend, that limit, rather than
dismiss the problem.

Charles McCN

On Fri, 18 Jun 1999, Jamie Fox wrote:

  Seems to me that being simple and understandable on highly complex issues 
  is not a real possibility.  You wouldn't give the same presentation to a 
  middle school science class that you would to a PHD seminar on 
  astrophysics.  One must cater to a certain degree to the likely audience. 
   The only thing you can reasonably demand is that the material be 
  accessible not understandable.  Demanding otherwise implies a positive 
  responsibility to educate all people everywhere in everything.
  -----Original Message-----
  From:	Anne Pemberton [SMTP:apembert@crosslink.net]
  Subject:	Re: tired of this thread
  <snip> 2) change the current status of the guideline for "simple and 
  understandable" text from "recommended" to "required"</snip>

--Charles McCathieNevile            mailto:charles@w3.org
phone: +1 617 258 0992   http://www.w3.org/People/Charles
W3C Web Accessibility Initiative    http://www.w3.org/WAI
MIT/LCS  -  545 Technology sq., Cambridge MA, 02139,  USA
Received on Friday, 18 June 1999 11:26:35 UTC

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