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Re: Adapting Material For Varying Reading Levels

From: Anne Pemberton <apembert@crosslink.net>
Date: Tue, 29 Jun 1999 11:50:38 -0400
Message-Id: <>
To: Kynn Bartlett <kynn-hwg@idyllmtn.com>
Cc: Patrick Burke <burke@ucla.edu>, w3c-wai-ig@w3.org

	The suggestion of a stack of books, one book for lowest level, tall stack
for highest level, in-betweens with less books, would be excellent. As you
said, there currently is no clear graphic that would indicate
literary/reading level, so there must be a start somewhere. If the graphic
is intuitive enough, others will adopt it ... 

	I also agree that the navigation symbols are easier to use at the bottom
of the page rather than the top. As I read each page, I had to scroll back
to the top to get to the button to go to the next page. Whatever button are
used, I think they are easier to use if they say "previous" and "next" no
matter the shape or color. This would follow the convention used in highway
signs, e.g. STOP and YIELD, which are both unique shapes and colors, but
have the word on them also.

	On the beginner's page, I also liked the addition of the sound link to
read the page to the user. The voice is good, doesn't "talk down" to the
user, and is much better than a synthesized voice doing the same text. 


At 09:49 AM 6/29/1999 -0700, Kynn Bartlett wrote:
>What about limited readers who are adults?  This is similar to the
>reason why text-only version of a site shouldn't be labeled with
>a wheelchair or say "for disabled users" -- because not all
>disabled users want a text-only site, and not everyone who might
>be using non-graphical browsers is disabled.  Likewise, I'd
>imagine that reading level can vary a LOT and not just by age
>(I read far above my age level all through school); so an age-
>based metaphor for the various levels doesn't seem appropriate.
>Perhaps instead you could use different heights/numbers of stacked
>books?  There's no easy, universal way to indicate the concept
>of "literacy level" with a _simple_ graphic, but you may be able
>to get the concept across with something that visibly "increases."
>Right now, these images only differ by color, and that's not
>very useful.  (They might as well be big round circles.)
>[When I say "you" I don't mean that Patrick or anyone else has
>access to change the pages, I'm just looking at this from a
>theoretical standpoint.]
>Under "beginners", some of the words seemed a bit "complex" to
>me and the graphics non-intuitive, such as the strange ball that
>represents "atmosphere".  (I could understand it because I know
>what "atmosphere" means, but the image didn't help in my
>comprehension much.)
>Once I got into the site -- e.g. to read about "atmosphere" --
>the content seemed understandable enough that I'd feel comfortable
>sending a child or limited reading adult to the site, except that
>the navigation features seem to be lacking.  A lot of complex
>terms are introduced in the Table of Contents, with no graphical
>clues to meaning, but fortunately you can just click on "the
>next one" on the list without needing to understand it all.
>A graphical navigation button with directional arrows for 
>forward and backwards at the bottom of the page would be nice,
>even for those of us who _can_ read.  "Tape recorder" style
>icons are generally well-understood and I think whenever
>possible, graphics for "next" and "back" buttons need to
>look like arrows or triangles.  (And should be placed at the
>END of content, not at the TOP, a problem I also had with the
>WCAG Curriculum slides.)
>Kynn Bartlett                                    mailto:kynn@hwg.org
>President, HTML Writers Guild                    http://www.hwg.org/
>AWARE Center Director                          http://aware.hwg.org/
Anne L. Pemberton
Enabling Support Foundation
Received on Tuesday, 29 June 1999 16:39:51 UTC

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