Thread Subject: Re: Discussion Topic: Cognitive IssuesAffectingDocumentation
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From: Robinson, Norman B - Washington, DC
Date: Fri, Jan 12 2007 11:35 AM
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Great question! I'll try to respond.
1. Definition of "cognitive issues". I don't think we all agree or it is
generally known how cognitive issues should be defined. Is this
intellect? Does this involve qualifications of intelligence? What about
speed of thought response? What science currently approaches
communication; was content interpreted and understood? Is this
Instructional Design? Is this simply agreement that we can generally
apply an algorithm to content (e.g., Eight Grade Level)?
2. What functions are affected? By that I mean today we have subpart C,
functional performance criteria 1194.21(a) through (f). We haven't
defined what that means for use of technology by people with cognitive
needs - related to the definition of cognitive issues. Can we develop
language that allows a contracting officer to evaluate products
accessibility for perception, attention, testing, and evaluation by the
3. Language. If you talk about the simplicity of language and complexity
of language will we also involve different languages in the discussion?
Sign-language is another language. Pictograms is/are another language.
I also fear our own desire to be respectful and lack of language to
express some of the ideas discourages this topic to be openly discussed.
For instance, no one wants to identify with not caring but how
comfortable are you with discussing the need if you know a specific
disability only affects .0000001 percentage of the population? That is a
setup question, as I can certainly equate accessibility with improving
usability and in the same way say techniques designed for .2 of the
population can positively influence designs for most people, but really
I think we need to quantify the need so we can prioritize our approach.
People are uncomfortable and where they aren't they certainly are
reserved to express an opinion. Disability is a personal and emotional
subject. Cognitive issues are even more so when you don't have certainty
and ease in communication.
I think I'd be most interested in anyone providing us with ways we can
_programmatically determine_ any related cognitive issues. Things such
as the Flesch-Kincaid Grade Level score (.39 x average sentence length
(the number of words divided by the number of sentences)) + (11.8 x
average number of syllables per word (the number of syllables divided by
the number of words)) - 15.59. This can at least show us such approaches
can be tested and we can back into questions such as is it appropriate
to procure E&IT that meets a certain grade-level.
Norman B. Robinson
Section 508 Coordinator
IT Governance, US Postal Service
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Subject: [teitac-documentation] Discussion Topic: Cognitive
Today's Topic for Discussion (a little late): What are
potential cognitive issues affecting documentation?
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