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Re: Help With Plain Language And Learning Disabilities

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From: Tyllick,Cliff S (HHSC/DADS)
Date: Oct 31, 2016 9:05AM


Whitney, thanks for that list of references! I hadn't known about Ginny Redish's earlier articles. I'll have to read them soon!

Vanessa, I'll add a more recent article to the list. This is not scholarly, but pragmatic. It addresses especially well these points:
- Making information readable does not mean "dumbing it down."
- The reader's measured reading ability doesn't matter. For all readers, what does matter is the ability possible with the cognitive resources available, which depends on the situation as well as the reader.
- Following a specific set of techniques can help ensure that your message is accessible to the broadest set of audiences possible.

The article is Angela Colter's "The Audience You Didn't Know You Had." The original is in Contents Magazine:
http://contentsmagazine.com/articles/the-audience-you-didnt-know-you-had/index.html

And a copy, including the comments, is posted as a PDF here:
http://www.springfield.k12.or.us/cms/lib03/OR01000651/Centricity/Domain/19/Staff%20Resources/Website/Considering_Your_Content.pdf

Angela also cites 20 references. I'm not sure how much overlap there is with the group Whitney has provided or pointed to.

I have used Angela's article as the basis of a 60-minute class teaching engineers, other scientists, and regulatory officials how to write clearly. Reading this highly enjoyable article takes about 15 minutes. As I told my students, it's great to bookmark for something that is easy, refreshing, and educational--a way to accomplish something and re-energize yourself when work has numbed your mind.

Give it a try and see if you find it as helpful as my students and I did.

Cheers!

Cliff

Cliff Tyllick
EIR Accessibility Coordinator
Texas Health & Human Services Commission
512-438-2494
<EMAIL REMOVED>



-----Original Message-----
From: WebAIM-Forum [mailto: <EMAIL REMOVED> ] On Behalf Of Whitney Quesenbery
Sent: Monday, October 31, 2016 8:56 AM
To: WebAIM Discussion List
Subject: Re: [WebAIM] Help With Plain Language And Learning Disabilities

Start with:

Design to read brought together researchers in a number of specialisms to
look at overlaps in recommendations. There are some good links there and a
bibliography <http://designtoread.com/Bibliography>;
http://designtoread.com/


http://centerforplainlanguage.org
http://www.plainlanguage.gov/


The work of Kathryn Summers is particularly good. Here's one article.
Reading and Navigational Strategies of Web Users with LowerLiteracy Skills
<http://redish.net/images/stories/PDF/summers_asist2005.pdf>;

Short article:
http://civicdesign.org/writing-election-information-that-everyone-can-read/


Ginny Redish <http://redish.net/books>; on readability formulas, including:
Redish, J. C., 2000, Readability formulas have even more limitations than
Klare discusses, ACM Journal of Computer Documentation, 24 (3), August,
132-137.

Redish, J. C. and Selzer, J., 1985, The Place of Readability Formulas in
Technical Communication, Technical Communication, 32 (4), November, 46-52.

Joe Kimble <http://www.cooley.edu/faculty/kimble.html>; is a legal scholar
(who also rewrote things like Federal jury instructions). His book Writing
for Dollars, Writing to Please
<https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/1611631912> is (despite the clickbait
title) a really good collection of the empirical evidence.

On Sun, Oct 30, 2016 at 8:55 AM Preast, Vanessa < <EMAIL REMOVED> >
wrote:

Would you be willing to share the citations for the articles or other
evidence that real plain language improves access? This information could
be helpful when trying to train academics how to write more clearly without
dumbing down the materials.

Best,
Vanessa

-----Original Message-----
From: WebAIM-Forum [mailto: <EMAIL REMOVED> ] On Behalf
Of Whitney Quesenbery
Sent: Saturday, October 29, 2016 6:34 PM
To: WebAIM Discussion List < <EMAIL REMOVED> >
Subject: Re: [WebAIM] Help With Plain Language And Learning Disabilities

I'd say "Don't rely on readability statistics" but I know that's not what
you asked.

There is a LOT of evidence that real plain language does improve access for
people with a variety of reading disabilities.
And there is a LOT of evidence that grade levels are not an adequate way to
assess plain language.

Whitney

On Sat, Oct 29, 2016 at 7:12 AM JP Jamous < <EMAIL REMOVED> > wrote:

> What version of Word are you using?
>
> I bought office personal edition 365 2016 and ran into lots of issues
> with it at first with Outlook mostly. It was so bad I had to format my
> C: drive, because the registry was corrupt.
>
> It works fine now, but if I search a folder using all fields, it
> throws a message at me stating that there isn't enough resources to
> perform this task, when that is not true. My machine is massive as far as
resources.
>
> -----Original Message-----
> From: WebAIM-Forum [mailto: <EMAIL REMOVED> ] On
> Behalf Of Jim Homme
> Sent: Friday, October 28, 2016 2:46 PM
> To: WebAIM Discussion List < <EMAIL REMOVED> >
> Subject: [WebAIM] Help With Plain Language And Learning Disabilities
>
> Hi,
> I can't seem to get the Readability Statistics dialog in Word 2016 to
> come up, even though I have that option checked in options, Check
> Grammar With Spelling checked, and US English set as the default
> language. Does anyone know how I can further trouble-shoot this?
>
> Thanks.
>
> Jim
>
>
> =========> Jim Homme,
> Accessibility Consultant,
> Bender HighTest Accessibility Team
> Bender Consulting Services, Inc.,
> 412-787-8567 <(412)%20787-8567> <(412)%20787-8567>,
> <EMAIL REMOVED>
>
> http://www.benderconsult.com/our%20services/hightest-accessible-techno
> logy-solutions
> E+R=O
> <http://www.benderconsult.com/our%20services/hightest-accessible-techn
> ology-solutionsE+R=O>
>
--
*Whitney Quesenbery*
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