Another attempt at plain language

Doug Ewell doug at
Sun Sep 13 19:12:56 CEST 2015

Michael Everson wrote:

>>> … is not, I think, best solved by a subtag.
>> But how should it be solved then? I get your concerns, but I have not
>> yet found any alternatives.
> I don’t know. A conformance statement? In any case it doesn’t seem
> taggable. There are books for early readers and young adults and
> college students but the difference of language use in those books is
> not precisely defined. Nor is the WCAG’s recommendation (or
> requirement) without ambiguity.

If the goal is to allow conformance to the WCAG, why doesn't someone 
simply ask the Working Group for guidance? It's not as if we have to 
guess at the intent of the Founding Fathers; the specification is from 
2008, and the WG has published supplementary material on this spec as 
recently as this year.

As a side note, the supplementary material does include this passage 
from a UNESCO standard:

"According to the Open Society Mental Health Initiative, the concept of 
Easy to Read cannot be universal, and it will not be possible to write a 
text that will suit the abilities of all people with literacy and 
comprehension problems. Using the clearest and simplest language 
appropriate is highly desirable, but the WCAG Working Group could not 
find a way to test whether this had been achieved. The use of reading 
level is a way to introduce testability into a Success Criterion that 
encourages clear writing. Supplementary content can be a powerful 
technique for people with some classes of cognitive disability."

implying that a set of subtags representing quantifiable reading levels, 
as Tobias mentioned at one point, might be what the WG is really after.

Doug Ewell | | Thornton, CO 🇺🇸

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