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Plain Language: Accessibility for Content

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Plain Language: Accessibility for Content

  1. Plain language: accessibility for information Whitney Quesenbery WQusability.com and Usability in Civic Life
  2. 2 Plain language = a11y for information
  3. 3 Plain language means users can find what they need understand what they find use the information to meet their goals This definition was written by Ginny Redish and is used by the Center for Plain Language http://www.centerforplainlanguage.org
  4. 4 Many barriers to cognitive accessibility are the same as usability problems for general audience…but more severe. - Clayton Lewis Invited talk to the 508 Refresh Committee (TEITAC)
  5. 5 Plain language = a11y = usability = user experience for information
  6. 6 Why plain language?
  7. 7 People need plain language because... They read with different degrees of literacy. They do not always read carefully. They have a cognitive, language, or learning disability. Visual disabilities can affect reading. They may not know (or read) the language well
  8. 8 Cognitive disabilities Affect a person’s ability to process information:  Remember and recall  Read information  Process information  Make choices Examples • Dyslexia • Attention disorders • Disability from brain injury • Stroke • Developmental disabilities • Down syndrome • Dementia
  9. 9 People read with different levels of literacy Below basic – only the most simple and concrete reading skills Basic – able to manage everyday tasks Intermediate – moderately challenging activities like consulting reference material Proficient – interpreting text, comparing viewpoints U.S. National Assessment of Adult Literacy http://nces.ed.gov/naal/kf_demographics.asp
  10. 10 Plain language supports the right to understand Sandra Fisher-Martins ―The Right to Understand‖at TEDx O’Porto -www.youtube.com/watch?v=tP2y0vU7EG8
  11. 11 Can users interpret and act on this information? http://www.yourdiseaserisk.wustl.edu/hccpquiz.pl Repeat risk Visual information Clear statement Invite action Build on success
  12. 12 How do you make information clear?
  13. 13 5 guidelines • Write for your audience • Organize information logically • Write for action • Keep the text as short as possible • Design for reading
  14. 14 1. Write for the audience Speak to them in their words about their tasks
  15. 15 Use simple, everyday words
  16. 16 Use simple, everyday words Description Of Service The Site is an online community which enables photographers and graphic artists to post photographs and images, share comments, opinions and ideas, promote their work, participate in contests and promotions, and access and/or purchase services from time to time made available on the Site (―Services‖). Services include, but are not limited to, any service and/or content 500px makes available to or performs for you, as well as the offering of any materials displayed, transmitted or performed on the Site or through the Services. Content (―Content‖) includes, but is not limited to text, user comments, messages, information, data, graphics, news articles, photographs, images, illustrations, and software. Your access to and use of the Site may be interrupted from time to time as a result of equipment malfunction, updating, maintenance or repair of the Site or any other reason within or outside the control of 500px. 500px reserves the right to suspend or discontinue the availability of the Site and/or any Service and/or remove any Content at any time at its sole discretion and without prior notice. 500px may also impose limits on certain features and Services or restrict your access to parts of or all of the Site and the Services without notice or liability. The Site should not be used or relied upon for storage of your photographs and images and you are directed to retain your own copies of all Content posted on the Site.
  17. 17 One version or multiple versions This is the question in the original document: Q1: What do you think would be the advantages or disadvantages of a UK Bill of Rights? Do you think that there are alternatives to either our existing arrangements or to a UK Bill of Rights that would achieve the same benefits? If you think that there are disadvantages to a UK Bill of Rights, do you think that the benefits outweigh them? Whether or not you favour a UK Bill of Rights, do you think that the Human Rights Act ought to be retained or repealed? This is the EasyRead version: Question1: Do you tink we need a Bill of Rights in the UK Both of these documents are linked from http://www.justice.gov.uk/about/cbr/second-consultation
  18. 18 Leap and land on the same word
  19. 19 The text in the image says: Living with MS. Whether you just received a diagnosis of MS or have been living with it for a long time—this section is filled with information and tips on how to maintain your quality of life in the years ahead. Read about strategies to enhance your health and wellness, maximize your productivity and independence, and deal with emotional, social, and vocational challenges. Speak directly to the audience nationalmssociety.org
  20. 20Speak directly to the audience, even when the reader is a representative of the audience member. § 408.315. Who may sign your application? (a) When you must sign. If you are mentally competent, and physically able to do so, you must sign your own application. (b) When someone else may sign for you. (1) If you are mentally incompetent, or physically unable to sign, your application may be signed by a court-appointed representative or a person who is responsible for your care, including a relative. If you are in the care of an institution, the manager or principal officer of the institution may sign your application. (2) If it is necessary to protect you from losing benefits and there is good cause why you could not sign the application, we may accept an application signed by someone other than you or a person described in paragraph (b)(1) of this section.
  21. 21 2. Organize information logically In the right order In the right format
  22. 22 Put information in the right order. Requirements, prompts, warnings, notes and anything else that someone needs to complete an action correctly must come before the action, field or instruction, not after it!
  23. 23 Establish context and requirements
  24. 24 Put instructions in the right order Draw a triangle on top of an upside down ―T‖
  25. 25 Put instructions in the right order Draw a triangle on top of an upside down ―T‖ Did you draw a pine tree or a wine glass?
  26. 26 3. Write for action Active verbs Positive messages
  27. 27 Write with active verbs
  28. 28 Be positive We asked participans in a usabilty test to find out: How much are the annual tuition fees at this university? A typical three-year degree at £3,000 a year adds up to to £9,000 – a hefty sum that doesn’t include living costs.... ...on average to £3,046 compared with £9,000... Universities will be able to charge up to £3,000 for annual tuition fees and the government is predicting that average levels of student debt will be around £15,000 for those entering higher education next year...
  29. 29 4. Keep the text as short as possible Short sentences Short paragraphs
  30. 30 How to vote (1) Mark only with a writing instrument provided by the board of elections. (2) To vote for a candidate whose name is printed on this ballot fill in the (insert oval or square, as applicable) above or next to the name of the candidate. (3) To vote for a person whose name is not printed on this ballot write or stamp his or her name in the space labeled ―write-in‖ that appears (insert at the bottom of the column, the end of the row or at the bottom of the candidate names, as applicable) for such office (and, if required by the voting system in use at such election, the instructions shall also include ―and fill in the (insert oval or square, as applicable) corresponding with the write-in space in which you have written in a name‖). (4) To vote yes or no on a proposal, if any, that appears on the (indicate where on the ballot the proposal may appear) fill in the (insert oval or square, as applicable) that corresponds to your vote. (5) Any other mark or writing, or any erasure made on this ballot outside the voting squares or blank spaces provided for voting will void this entire ballot. (6) Do not overvote. If you select a greater number of candidates than there are vacancies to be filled, your ballot will be void for that public office, party position or proposal. (7) If you tear, or deface, or wrongly mark this ballot, return it and obtain another. Do not attempt to correct mistakes on the ballot by making erasures or cross outs. Erasures or cross outs may invalidate all or part of your ballot. Prior to submitting your ballot, if you make a mistake in completing the ballot or wish to change your ballot choices, you may obtain and complete a new ballot. You have a right to a replacement ballot upon return of the original ballot. (8) After completing your ballot, insert it into the ballot scanner and wait for the notice that your ballot has been successfully scanned. If no such notice appears, seek the assistance of an election inspector.
  31. 31 How to vote (another try) Mark the oval to the left of the name of your choice. To vote for a candidate whose name is not printed on the ballot, print the name clearly in the box labeled 'write-in', staying within the box. Do not make any marks outside the spaces provided for voting. If you do, your ballot may not count. The number of choices is listed for each contest. Do not mark the ballot for more candidates than allowed. If you do, your vote in that contest will not count. If you make a mistake, or want to change your vote, ask a poll worker for a new ballot.
  32. 32 Use summaries to communicate key points This example is from http://www.cancer.gov/cancertopics/factsheet/Sites-Types/bone
  33. 33 5. Design for reading Lists and tables Info design Clear fonts
  34. 34 Design for reading patterns
  35. 35 Clear presentation of quantitative data How many accessibility problems can you find on this page?
  36. 36 Clear presentation of quantitative data Focus on meaning Meaningful title with the main point Brief overview summarizes the message Information in visual format Information in table format And, Better alt text No table used for layout http://www.careerinfonet.org/finaidadvisor/earnings.aspx?nodeid=21
  37. 37 Use design to make information easy to scan
  38. 38 Let lists be lists Good information design supports good accessibility The most important information in this email is buried in a massive, parenthetical sentence. Hello. From time to time we update our agreement governing the use of Square's payment processing services, Square Reader, and Square Register. We're writing to inform you of a few changes recently incorporated into this agreement. Click here to read the updated Seller Agreement. The vast majority of changes result from either reorganization, clarification of language, the deletion of duplicative text, or other aesthetic changes, although there are a few substantive modifications. (See, for example, Section 6 [Your Square Account], Section 7 [Our Role], Section 12 [Applicable Network Rules], Section 15(a) [Access to Square Account Funds], Section 15(b) [Right to Setoff], Section 16 [Payout Schedule], Section 24 [Taxes], Section 36 [Disclosures and Notices], Section 47 [Representation and Warranties], and Section 49b [Third Party Products].) The updated agreement will take effect on June 9, 2013. If you continue to use our services after June 9, 2013, you agree to the terms of the new agreement. You will be able to access the previous version of the agreement for the next thirty days. Thanks, The Square Team squareup.com Email from square.com and link to https://squareup.com/legal/seller-agreement
  39. 39 Myths that hold us back
  40. 40Myth: “My audience doesn’t need plain language” Teens  Write simply, using words that are common to your readers’ vocabulary  Be concise and get to the point  Make the content apply to personal and cultural experiences Older adults  Use words that most older adults know  Write in plain language with short, simple and straightforward sentences Low literacy  Put the most important information first  Write text with a simple sentence structure  Keep pages, paragraphs, sentences short Teenagers on the Web www.nngroup.com/reports/teens/ Designing Web Sites for Older Adults, http://www.redish.net/articles-slides/articles-slides-older-adults Work with low literacy web users www.stc.org/intercom/pdfs/2004/200406_19-23.pdf But compare these guidelines for different audiences
  41. 42Myth: My information can’t be expressed in plain language Information can be technically accurate, interesting and well written appropriate to the audience and also clear and understandable
  42. 43 Plain language resources Federal Plain Language Guidelines http://www.plainlanguage.gov/ SEC Plain Language Handbook http://www.sec.gov/pdf/handbook.pdf Center for Plain Language ClearMark Awards http://centerforplainlanguage.org/awards/ How to write clearly – European Commission http://ec.europa.eu/translation/writing/clear_ writing/how_to_write_clearly_en.pdf Letting Go of the Words by Janice (Ginny) Redish
  43. 44 Plain language discussion forums and organizations Organizations Center for Plain Language - http://www.centerforplainlanguage.org Plain Language Association International - http://www.plainlanguagenetwork.org/ Clarity - http://www.clarity-international.net/ IC Clear – European consortium - http://icclear.net/ Groups and Conferences LinkedIn Grouphttp://www.linkedin.com/groups/Plain-Language- Advocates-158634?trk=myg_ugrp_ovr Facebook Group – https://www.facebook.com/groups/43656290511/ Plain 2013 conference - http://www.plain2013.org/, October in Vancouver
  44. 45 Storytelling for User Experience with Kevin Brooks Global UX with Daniel Szuc A Web for Everyone with Sarah Horton A Web for Everyone
  45. 46 Whitney Quesenbery whitney@wqusability.com http://www.wqusability.com Usability in Civic Life http://usabilityinciviclife.org http://civicdesigning.org Twitter: @whitneyq Slideshare: http://www.slideshare.net/whitneyq/

Editor's Notes

  • The logo image is the Usability in Civic Life logo. It shows a “super-hero” figure in the middle of a group of people. The group includes young, old, someone in a wheelchair, someone with a cane and guide dog.
  • The image shows a bar graph with the number of people at each level of literacy defined by the US National Assessment ofAdult Literacy: Below Basic: 30 million people or 14%Basic: 63 million people, or 29%Intermediate: 95 million people, or 45%Proficient: 28 million people, or 13%
  • I suggest you take this quiz and read your own results.
  • This site may not be accessible, but the reason I included it is because of how carefully they have created a clear, focused, simple interface. Appropriately for their audience, the pages focus on the photography.
  • The page says:Online Registration RenewalA simple 4-step process.Enter vehicle registrationEnter owner informationPay feesProvide feedback (optional)Make sure you have the following ready:Your registration renewal formYour Social Security Number (SSN)Your Insurance Identification CardA valid credit card4 images show cards for Visa, Mastercard, American Express, Discover
  • The Key Points: Cancer that starts in the bone is uncommon.Pain is the most common symptom of bone cancer.Surgery is the usual treatment for bone cancer.With modern surgical techniques, 9 out of 10 people who have bone cancer in an arm or leg may not need amputation.Because bone cancer can come back after treatment, regular follow-up visits are important.People with bone cancer are encouraged to enroll in clinical trials (research studies) that explore new treatments.
  • Here are some I noted;The layout is a tableThe graph colors are not accessibleThe text is too smallThere is a lot of text in the imageThere is no alt text on the graph image
  • The letter says: Hello.   From time to time we update our agreement governing the use of Square's payment processing services, Square Reader, and Square Register. We're writing to inform you of a few changes recently incorporated into this agreement.   Click here to read the updated Seller Agreement.   The vast majority of changes result from either reorganization, clarification of language, the deletion of duplicative text, or other aesthetic changes, although there are a few substantive modifications. (See, for example, Section 6 [Your Square Account], Section 7 [Our Role], Section 12 [Applicable Network Rules], Section 15(a) [Access to Square Account Funds], Section 15(b) [Right to Setoff], Section 16 [Payout Schedule], Section 24 [Taxes], Section 36 [Disclosures and Notices], Section 47 [Representation and Warranties], and Section 49b [Third Party Products].)   The updated agreement will take effect on June 9, 2013. If you continue to use our services after June 9, 2013, you agree to the terms of the new agreement. You will be able to access the previous version of the agreement for the next thirty days.  Thanks,The Square Teamsquareup.com
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