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Re: plain/simple/easy language variant subtag

From: Phill Jenkins <pjenkins@us.ibm.com>
Date: Wed, 16 Sep 2015 09:41:37 -0500
To: WAI Interest Group <w3c-wai-ig@w3.org>
Message-ID: <OF5D6CB347.B0E61AFB-ON86257EC2.004EDB8F-86257EC2.0050B7AB@us.ibm.com>
I agree that  'complex ideas' are not the problem.  Nor that its a big 
problem to explain them in simple language. 

However, the problem is to be able to identify when the explanation is 
"simple enough", when it is even more simple than the previous explanation 
(e.g. is it simpler?), and the biggest challenge is to do that without a 
human involved.  How can it be objectively tested?  Doesn't human judgment 
naturally introduce bias and subjectivity?

We can use Chaals' recent explanation as an example:

Simpler language: 
Explaining complex ideas is difficult. Explaining them with simple 
language is more difficult. But complex ideas can be explained in simple 
language. Thousands of very good teachers do that every day. For most 
people, understanding complicated explanations is hard. Even if 
they can understand the idea that someone is explaining.

Complex language:
(alternately: Conceptual integrity failure in interpersonal communication 
is frequently consequent upon inadequate realization vis-a-vis the 
linguistic transmission medium rather than the abstract object inherently 
overtaxing the recipient's cognitive capacity?)

How can a machine tell that the Simpler example is indeed simpler than the 
complex alternative example?

We had this debate several year (decade?) ago.  What has changed? 
Back then we could count the number of 3 syllable words, we could count 
the number of uncommon words, we could use Microsoft Word's "Reading 
Level" tool, etc.  Is there now some new standard that can be objectively 
measured by an open algorithm or tool? 

When would our criteria fail to be met? 
What content is exempt ( e.g. an index, a table of content, left nav, 
complimentary info tagged with ARIA region mark-up?  etc.)
Would lawyers agree to have their content objectively measured?  I love 
the idea of regulating lawyers by the way.
When is it equally inaccessible to everyone?     Does that concept even 
come into play with cognitive disabilities?
Is this topic part of the WAI Cognitive Task Force? 

As most new success criteria, it is itself a complex issue to resolve.
Phill Jenkins, 
IBM Accessibility
Received on Wednesday, 16 September 2015 14:42:24 UTC

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