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Ignored Accessibility Problem?  (View post)

Tadeusz Szewczyk [PersonRank 10]

Thursday, November 23, 2006
14 years ago3,269 views

"Lower-Literacy Users"? What about non-native speakers of English like myself that don't know most of the US and UK idioms?

Elias Kai [PersonRank 10]

14 years ago #

What about Cultural usability ? chinese is becoming the biggest internet language in 2008.
Cultural usability and one action on each page is best practice.

Katinka Hesselink [PersonRank 2]

14 years ago #

Nielsen's article did sound very Western-centric: he noted that poverty was a problem, and world-wide access to the Internet for everybody not likely to be achieved in 20 years time. Then he proceeded to say that this wasn't really an issue for his audience: the main thing people should focus at was lower literacy – including computer-literacy.

What should be noted in Nielsen's writings is that he mainly addresses his (potential) customers: Western businesses for whom not addressing less literary potential customers is a real problem.

Internationally it is clear that most Dutch users (for instance) are not comfortable with most English websites. Dutch people generally know some English but it does take a higher level of literacy in English to be able to navigate the international Internet. The only solution is multi-language sites and niche sites that target specific languages and cultures.
Finding ways to also make these understandable for people with average or less then average intelligence / Internet-knowledge is a real challenge that I think we are only just scratching the surface of – and that last issue is what Nielsen was trying to point out. It is very clear that the online debate is likely to be held by people with high levels of Internet-literacy. Nielsen rightly makes it clear that for most people the Internet is just another tool in their lives and they are not likely to even feel the need to find out how to contribute to (say) wikipedia.

Philipp Lenssen [PersonRank 10]

14 years ago #

I wonder if one can automate the "simplifcation" of a text, similar to how you can use online translators to change from one language to another. The tool would look up simpler synonyms for words and then render the page with those (e.g. the word "innocuous" would be replaced by "innocent"). The text would lose some appeal – unless it's unnecessarily complicated! – but it would be directed at those unable to grasp the original in the first place, so it's a potential improvement.

Matt Cutts [PersonRank 10]

14 years ago #

I'll just say that we work hard to make our spellcheck work in many languages and to have the interface in many languages. It's true that a non-trivial percentage of the population can't spell well, and spellcheck helps with that.

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