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Re: plain/simple/easy language variant subtag

From: Chaals McCathie Nevile <chaals@yandex-team.ru>
Date: Thu, 17 Sep 2015 05:55:36 +0200
To: "Paul Bohman" <paul.bohman@deque.com>
Cc: "Phill Jenkins" <pjenkins@us.ibm.com>, "WAI Interest Group" <w3c-wai-ig@w3.org>
Message-ID: <op.x4286ywjs7agh9@widsith.local>

On Thu, 17 Sep 2015 03:57:10 +0200, Paul Bohman <paul.bohman@deque.com>  

> In response to this:
>>>>> For other people, you have to start by giving them life experience.  
>>>>> Good luck with that.
>>>> Parents and teachers do it all the time. What's the problem?
> My response: Ok, if you've got a semester (or 18 years, or some other  
> appropriate time frame) to work with, and the world as your classroom,  
> that's great. I assumed we were talking about >a web page, in which  
> case, time and space are limited, as are your ability to discern the  
> character and needs of the audience.

OK. I see we were thinking about different things, and that made us  
misunderstand each other. Sorry.

> So, can you design web sites for people with limited comprehension?  
> Absolutely. But none of the target users of those web sites were going  
> to understand the totality of "change >management theory" in large  
> organizations. Try as you might, they won't be able to run a large  
> organization based on what you teach them, no matter how well or how  
> simply you explain >it.

> And it really does come down to the complexity of the information, at  
> least with the audiences I'm talking about. These adults have had life  
> experiences, but they didn't comprehend those >life experiences as fully  
> as someone with average intelligence would have -- because of the  
> complexity of those life experiences -- so they are on par with the  
> child of 3 or 8 or whatever >age is comparable for that individual. The  
> root of their difficulty or inability to comprehend is in the complexity  
> of the information, and, by extension, their inability to connect  
> disparate >pieces of information, or to recognize patterns, or to  
> critically analyze and draw conclusions. They might also have issues  
> forming long term memories, or may have other limitations.
> That said, there are specific conditions of the brain -- defects,  
> injuries, diseases, etc. -- that target very specific parts of  
> perception or cognition, in which case they don't have a generalized  
> >inability to process complexities, but rather a very specific  
> deficiency. In some of those cases, simple language may help. In other  
> cases -- like aphasia -- language itself may be the >problem, and you're  
> going to have to come up with another way to convey information that  
> doesn't use language at all.
So I think this is a different question.

When we write, it is important to write clearly. (More clearly than we do,  
even if we already tried to be clearer ;) )

There are other things we need to do too, like using pictures, video, the  
ways you can move around a site, to make it easy to work with.

And even then it is true we are not going to solve all problems for  
everyone. This is a problem we have if we try to say "my content can be  
used by anyone at all". But I think there are other things we can do that  
help. I'll write about them when I get time, with a subject like "if when  
we can't be accessible to everyone"…

I don't think that means that we should say that simple clear writing  
isn't helpful for complex ideas. It still is.

> There are so many variations of human cognitive deficiency that your  
> concluding question of "What's the problem?" -- aside from being  
> casually dismissive -- seems more than a little >myopic.
I didn't mean it to be dismissive - the reality of what people do in  
trying to give other people enough background knowledge is that it is long  
hard work. But we all know that, because we nearly all do it. (Even many  
of the people we are claiming to help do that for other people…)

And I *was* being myopic - I am only looking at the question "is it worth  
using clear simple explanations for complex topics?". My short answer is  
"Yes". My longer answer is "yes, but there isn't a magic formula for this  
like there is for some things… I'll explain more when I have time…"



Charles McCathie Nevile - web standards - CTO Office, Yandex
chaals@yandex-team.ru - - - Find more at http://yandex.com
Received on Thursday, 17 September 2015 03:56:14 UTC

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