Should I make my website accessible to people with disabilities?

Posted on Aug 19, 2015 in Guest blog
Should I make my website accessible to people with disabilities?

Yes! About 20% of Americans – some 60 million people – have a disability, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). The largest and fastest growing type of disability is visual. Think baby boomers moving from spectacles to screen readers, and living longer than ever before…

Making your website accessible opens it up to more people, and for many of us, it is required by law. Section 508 of the Rehabilitation Act (508 for short) says that any agency that gets money from the federal government must make its site and its downloadable PDFs accessible.

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Plain Language: It’s not only about words

Posted on Aug 5, 2015 in Guest blog

Over the past few years, I’ve been writing a book about ethics and plain language. I was invited to reflect here on what I’ve learned, and I’m happy to share six of the most important lessons that stand out for me.

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Rolling with Report Cards

Posted on Jul 22, 2015 in Center News, Government
Rolling with Report Cards

The Federal Report Card process for 2015 is underway! Agencies are preparing their submissions for the Center’s review. This relatively new service by the Center (since 2012) continues to evolve, and this year we are making a couple of changes to the process.

First, we are reviewing two types of documents, one selected by the Center and the other selected by the agency:

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Serif or Sans?

Posted on Jul 8, 2015 in Plain Language Blog Articles
Serif or Sans?

Plain language writers are mindful about displaying text in highly readable fonts. Some writers choose fonts based on aesthetic considerations; others follow common text display conventions.

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Rules? Or just suggestions?

Posted on Jun 24, 2015 in Plain Language Blog Articles

Ah. Those pesky rules. If everyone would simply follow them, all would be well.

It’s not that easy, is it? But why not? Because context matters. For example, plenty of people reading this are thinking, “What kind of expert are you? You’re not even writing proper sentences! ‘Ah.’ isn’t a sentence! ‘Those pesky rules.’ isn’t a sentence! How can you hold yourself out as an expert if you don’t even follow the most basic rules of writing?”

But others will agree that ignoring the basic rules was perfectly justified in that first paragraph. Ignoring the rules shapes the style—it adds a certain tone or even personality. And if we can’t play with tone, style, and personality in a blog, where can we?

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