Thursday, 16 September 2021

Reflections of a paper - at Institute of Professional Editors

In June 2021, the Institute of Professional Editors held its 10th annual conference. It was held virtually from Hobart. 

The conference theme, ‘Editing on the edges’, gave presenters an opportunity to talk about some of the less traditional aspects of editing. The program addressed a wide range of topics, from business to politics to accessibility.

 

Cassandra Wright-Dole had her first conference paper accepted in the program                      Linguicism and Editing

Since then, Cecile Shanahan, a freelance generalist editor has written an article about what she learnt from listening to Cassandra's paper 

 

Chat more with Cassandra about the important subject of maintaining the authentic voice of the author when editing.

We look forward to more thought provoking papers.

Congratulations from all our team



Cathy

Access Easy English

www.accesseasyenglish.com.au 

cathy@accesseasyenglish.com.au

0466 579 855




Wednesday, 18 August 2021

 Consultation and collaboration.

This week, Access Easy English welcomed the opportunity to participate in a consultation hosted by Physical Disability Council of NSW (PDCNSW).  The topic of the discussion was ‘Accessibility in NSW National Parks’. This consultation was an opportunity for PDCNSW to gather various feedback concerning accessibility issues faced by people with disabilities in NSW National Parks.  This feedback will be presented to NSW Parks to assist them in developing their Accessibility Policy.

 Access Easy English provided feedback on the accessibility of the NSW Parks website for people with low literacy, fact sheets, how signs can incorporate Easy English to improve readability, and raise the issue of incorporating different disabilities into all aspects of emergency planning.  It was great to hear from those who experience other accessibility issues in National Parks, such as people with low vision. There was also a discussion about the need for Changing Places toilet facilities. These discussions also assist us to identifying other specific areas that require clear Easy English with different environments.

 As an organisation, Access Easy English welcomes the opportunity to consult and collaborate with other organisations to maximise awareness of accessibility issues, share our knowledge with the aim to increase access for all.   

Cass and Cathy 

cathy@accesseasyenglish.com.au

cass@accesseasyenglish.com.au

Thursday, 16 April 2020

Posters. Accessible written content


In the last blog I talked about the importance of the first impression.

Your first impression is the visual impression.

Irrespective of whether you creating a poster or document or brochure some other things are just as important.

  • Consistency - where are the images consistently?
  • Predictability - where do I go next/what do I read next?
  • What is the topic? Should this content be in more than 1 poster or brochure or document. Mostly for Easy English this is a definite yes.


Let's look at 2 posters created for COVID19 recently.
1) Developed by Australian Easy English Writer 

2) UK developed Easy Read for an Australian audience.

Australian Easy English 
Australian Easy English 


UK developed Australian content Easy Read  




Element


Australian

Easy English


UK developed Australian
Easy Read


Title


With image


Multiple images left and right of image
Placement of images
Title on left of text.
Body, consistently on top of text
Title – left and right of text. 
Body of text - Most on left, but also on Right and above text
Use of white (empty) space


Yes
No
Double line space throughout


Yes
No
Images per page 


6
12
Space for each image
Yes
No. Often overlap
Selection of images


Symbols.

Used by people with disability


Photos.

Of people with disability.

UK models


Use of columns
Yes – minimum text and image
Yes – columns filled with text and images. One or two words per column width.
Use of
-       Bold
-       Sentence case
-       Italics

Yes – heading
Yes
No

Yes - heading and body of text
No. eg: DO NOT; CALL
Yes eg: CALL
Repetition
No
Yes – telephone number
Standard format for phone numbers
N/A
No
Topic
1 per poster
Multiple topics

Even with this small comparison there are significant differences in the 2 types of posters. This has an impact for our readers with more limited literacy. Visually the reader needs to ask where do I start: where do I go: which bit is important: what is the green triangle for?

Formatting such as sentence case only and no italics has been identified as 2 elements which all readers need. Why then should a document that has an intended audience of people with lower literary have these elements in their document?

Some language differences.
Although only a small sample, the differences in these posters reflect what I discovered in the larger language analysis completed using 5 documents in Easy English and 5 documents in Easy Read, rather than single page posters. 

Element


Australian

Easy English 
Poster L        Poster R

UK developed Australian
Easy Read
Number of words
13                       26
58
Use of grammatical markers, eg ing, ly, plural
1 -plural            2 - plural
6
– ing – 2
-       ly – 1
-       ed – 1
-       plural - 3
Sentence length
1 sentence;        1 sentence;
Of 4 words        Of 4 words

7 sentences;
Ave 8.2 words long
Phrases
4 phrases.         6 phrases
Ave 2 word        Ave 3.5
long                   words long
0
If …then statements
0                         0
1
Use of conjunctions
Eg: ‘and‘  ‘or’
0                        0
3
Use of contractions eg: won’t 
0                        0
2
Everyday word use
COVID-19 or Coronavirus
COVID-19 (1)    COVID-19 (1)
Coronavirus (2)

 There are other areas for word analysis.
One is to look at the number of words with more than 1 syllable.

Element


Australian

Easy English

Poster L       Poster R
UK developed Australian
Easy Read
Words with more than 1 syllable
2                          5
2 syll – 1              2 syll - 5
3 syll - 1
11
2 syll – 8
3 syll –
4 syll –1
5 syll - 2
Percent of total words
15%                17%
18%
Number of words with more than 3 syllables
0                        0
 3 = 5%

 These findings are typical for all the comparative data I have collected between Easy English and Easy Read content. Keeping in mind that if someone has difficulty saying a word, they are less likely to understand the word and use it themselves. Additionally they are less able to make the connection with that word written down. In my typical consumer reviews, consumers have difficulty saying most words over 2 syllables in length. They rarely use them, and rarely know what they mean. 

All this analysis is critical to know about and be aware of as you construct your accessible content to provide best practice accessible, functional and meaningful information for everyone.

Let's agree that Easy English and Easy Read are different. Individually you may have a consumer who can manage more complex information. However, if that is all you develop for everyone you are leaving a substantial and very vulnerable cohort of people out of the circle of information.

Happy to talk with you about other data I have collected, and the impact on developing effective Easy English or book into my training. Learn more about how you can write effective and best practice Easy English. Details on my home page  


Easy English resources
Poster. Look for the signs https://bit.ly/3944NrJ
Poster. Look after your self.  https://bit.ly/2WxSl0L
Visit https://accesseasyenglish.com.au/covid-19-resources/ for all the Easy English resources


Stay safe, Cathy

Cathy Basterfield
Owner Access Easy English
Consultant – Speech Pathologist
Telephone: 0466 579 855



Wednesday, 15 April 2020

Easy English. Easy Read. What's it all about?

Over the last 18 months I have been presenting papers at various international and national conferences on just this issue.

The papers have been based on the research I have done looking at the visual and the linguistic differences between Easy English and Easy Read.

But first let’s dispel a myth.
Australian Easy English was originally and continues to be developed for a range of people with low or little literacy skills. It is not that this is for people with intellectual disabilities, and something else, such as Easy Read is for those one do not have an intellectual disability. If I am writing for a Disability Service, I may choose different images and some specific vocabulary compared to a project for the local Courts. However, the final look of a document, the way elements are put together and the sentence construction will be the same. Easy English is relevant to anyone in our community who needs it. At this time of stress and anxiety about COVID19 and constantly changing rules and regulations, Easy English is valuable for everyone in our community.

The development of Easy English or Easy Read is a multi-faceted and multi-layered mix of language, vocabulary, sentence structure, format, images and consumer testing. Trying to unpack each of these categories and then the many elements in these categories to determine what functionally works best can be a challenge. We need to start progressing the conversation and build awareness of the fact Easy English and Easy Read are different.

How then does this relate to the latest research that looks at comprehension of Easy Read?
You need to read the next blog to hear more about that.

First impressions are very important. So, let’s look at a visual comparison of Easy English and Easy Read. 

Research in this area explains 'white space is thinking space.' 
Having clear and delineated space between topics enhances the readers desire to engage with the material. The document needs to feel open and welcoming to its readers.

For this blog, I am taking 3 documents on the same content on COVID19.
Let's look at a page of 

1) Australian Easy English 2) Australian Easy Read and 3) UK Easy Read. All three have been published in the last 3- 4 weeks in 2020 (Late March/early April).

1.Easy English  Australia



















2. Easy Read Australia

3. Easy Read UK



















Element
Australian
Easy English
Australian
Easy Read
UK
Easy Read
Title
With image
No image
With image
Title in line with body of text.
Yes.
In line with text
No.
Left aligned
Yes
In line with text
Use of white (empty) space
Yes
No
Yes for text
No for images
Double line space throughout
Yes
No
No
Use of columns
No
Yes
No
Coloured images to enhance meaning
Yes
No
Yes
4-5 images per page
Yes
No
Yes
Selection of images
Symbols.
Used by people with disability
Line drawings.
New images. Stylised
Photos.
Of people with disability.
UK models

Images connected visually to the text
Yes
No
No


This table and the examples do demonstrate there are visual differences between Easy English and Easy Read. Of note, there are more similarities between UK Easy Read and Australian Easy English than the Australian Easy Read in this specific example. You would need to do a comparison across multiple documents to see the clear pattern of differences.

Why is it important to know and recognise these differences?
Content developed needs to use the best available research and evidence. It is imperative that when developing accessible content for vulnerable audiences what is developed best reflects what the research tells us, such as
 - the value of white space;
- the importance of images with headings;
- predictable places to find the text and content. i.e. always find the image on the left, and the text beside it, i.e. no use of columns.

The two Easy Read versions above, may be appropriate for some audiences. However, it still leaves a substantial percent of people without access to meaningful information. It would be far better to develop content that meets the needs of far more people in the first instance, rather than still leave the more vulnerable people in an already vulnerable group out of access to information. 

For a final thought. Compare the front pages of the 3 documents. 
A front page is something with lots of white space with connections to what you want to find out about and know. 
 
1. Easy English Australia





2. Easy Read Australia

3. Easy Read UK





















Read the next blog to look at some of the language analysis similarities and differences of these 3 documents

Stay safe 
Cathy
Cathy Basterfield
Owner Access Easy English
Consultant – Speech Pathologist
Telephone: 0466 579 855

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