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RE: plain/simple/easy language variant subtag

From: Howard Leicester <howard_leicester@btconnect.com>
Date: Thu, 17 Sep 2015 09:03:58 +0100
To: 'Chaals McCathie Nevile' <chaals@yandex-team.ru>, 'Paul Bohman' <paul.bohman@deque.com>
CC: 'Phill Jenkins' <pjenkins@us.ibm.com>, 'WAI Interest Group' <w3c-wai-ig@w3.org>
Message-ID: <C5673E148F094DC1B1E9BEC82DCC2BC3@H30JC4J>
Hi All,

 

Fascinating discussion.

 

Who's actually left in 'the pot' of the world's population with sufficient
intelligence etc to understanding anything?

 

And are we, part of the Accessibility Community, in or out of 'the pot'?

Appears that God is not the only one to move in mysterious ways.

 

VVV best,

Howard

(Dr Howard Leicester,

DeafBlind academic in Health Informatics,

Kent, UK).

 

 

  _____  

From: Chaals McCathie Nevile [mailto:chaals@yandex-team.ru] 
Sent: 17 September 2015 04:56
To: Paul Bohman
Cc: Phill Jenkins; WAI Interest Group
Subject: Re: plain/simple/easy language variant subtag

 

 

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

 

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. 

Right...

 

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."

 

cheers

 

Chaals

 

-- 

Charles McCathie Nevile - web standards - CTO Office, Yandex
chaals@yandex-team.ru - - - Find more at http://yandex.com
Received on Thursday, 17 September 2015 08:04:38 UTC

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