How and why to use descriptive link language

Posted on Jul 20, 2016 in Communications, Guest blog
How and why to use descriptive link language

You’d think that people would know better by now than to use “Click here” for links. It’s not like they haven’t been told.

But I still see it on all the sites, all the time–commercial, entertainment, news, and–even considering Section 508–government sites of all kinds, federal, state, and city.

So I’m taking this opportunity to show you why it’s wrong.

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Smarten up – Don’t be a dummy

Posted on Jul 6, 2016 in Plain Language Blog Articles
Smarten up – Don’t be a dummy

A quote (as pointed out by an alert twitter user) variously attributed to Blaise Pascal, John Locke, Benjamin Franklin, Henry David Thoreau, Cicero, Woodrow Wilson, Winston Churchill, and Mark Twain states, “I didn’t have time to write a short letter, so I wrote a long one instead.” Coming across this comment again recently reminded me of the familiar complaint that plain language somehow equals “Dumbing Down.”

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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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