Legal writing and the alligator tragedy

Posted on Jun 22, 2016 in Legal, News
Legal writing and the alligator tragedy

Plain English can be a life or death issue.

I’ve heard and read about the heartbreaking tragedy at the Disney resort in Florida, where a 2 year old was snatched from shallow water by an alligator. Better legal writing – meaning better signage – could have prevented this tragedy, and could prevent others.

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Top five health literacy tips for developing health websites

Posted on Jun 1, 2016 in Guest blog, Health Literacy
Top five health literacy tips for developing health websites

As members of the Office of Disease Prevention and Health Promotion (ODPHP) health literacy team, we are committed to promoting the use of health literacy principles. We recently took a deep dive into the online user experience to write the second edition of Health Literacy Online: A Guide to Simplifying the User Experience, and are honored to have been recognized with a Clear Mark Award for our efforts. We learned a lot about the challenges many people face using health websites. We wanted to share some lessons we learned with those of you who are involved in creating online health content—writers and editors, content managers, digital strategists, user experience strategists, web designers, developers, and other public health communication professionals.

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Briefly fun, then quickly annoying business phrases

Posted on May 18, 2016 in Plain Language Blog Articles
Briefly fun, then quickly annoying business phrases

The first time I heard a guy in a suit say, “We need to open the kimono” I screamed like a genteel Victorian and averted my eyes. I hadn’t heard this bit of business jargon before and was expecting the worst. Apparently, this colorful phrase simply means to “reveal information.” Phew. No kimonos were literally opened. (Look. It’s fun to use “literally” accurately.)

I happen to love interesting and unusual phrases.

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Homepage real estate …or, Battle of the bulletin board

Posted on Apr 20, 2016 in Guest blog
Homepage real estate …or, Battle of the bulletin board

My office has a break room with the usual appointments: tables, chair, refrigerators, vending machines, microwave, Keurig, electric teakettle. And a bulletin board.

I was pleased to see the bulletin board because there’s always so many interesting things there. Some of us bring back menus from local restaurants, some others post current events, others bring in things like the card for the mobile bike repair shop on 18th Street.

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Getting doctors to use plain language and other ways to improve patient understanding

Posted on Apr 6, 2016 in Guest blog, Health Literacy
Getting doctors to use plain language and other ways to improve patient understanding

Health professionals have the challenging job of translating the jargon they learned in professional school to everyday language that people can understand. The Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ) has help in the form of the AHRQ Health Literacy Universal Precautions Toolkit, Second Edition.

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