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Re: plain/simple/easy language variant subtag

From: Gregg Vanderheiden <gregg@raisingthefloor.org>
Date: Thu, 17 Sep 2015 10:50:57 -0400
Cc: Chaals McCathie Nevile <chaals@yandex-team.ru>, Paul Bohman <paul.bohman@deque.com>, Phill Jenkins <pjenkins@us.ibm.com>, IG - WAI Interest Group List list <w3c-wai-ig@w3.org>
Message-Id: <67F7408D-B1F9-4AA4-9B1E-B6D96AB7D11E@raisingthefloor.org>
To: howard_leicester@btconnect.com
> Who’s actually left in ‘the pot’ of the world’s population with sufficient intelligence etc to understanding anything?

understand something — everyone
understand everything  - no one

the goal though — and I think this is Chaals point  — is that how we write things can make more things accessible/ readable/ understandable to more.   And we should make everything as understandable by as many as we can.    

the point of others  I think is    —  most everything can be written in easier to understand language — but making things actually readable/understandable is much more than just better writing.  And once you have done better writing  — you can’t make things simpler usually without starting to lose information.    
	-  And as soon as you start doing this - you can’t just do it once.  You need to have many different versions if you are to be able to have it be understandable by people with different problems understanding it — without losing more information than that particular person needs to have removed in order for them to understand it. 
	- one-size-fits-one.     Not one-size-fits-all.    also not  two-sizes-fit-all. 

gregg

----------------------------------
Gregg Vanderheiden
gregg@raisingthefloor.org




> On Sep 17, 2015, at 4:03 AM, Howard Leicester <howard_leicester@btconnect.com> wrote:
> 
> 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 <http://yandex.com/>
Received on Thursday, 17 September 2015 14:50:40 UTC

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