Since 2018 we have introduced a lot of changes to make our legal process more accessible. Building a culture of plain language was one of them. It cost us very little, but has made a big difference in how ordinary people use our service. In terms of cost versus benefit, it has been a massive bargain.
Plain Language Blog Articles
Making Citizenship and Immigration Plain
In 2006, I was working as a writer-editor in the regulatory shop of U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, the agency responsible for providing legal immigration benefits and services. Any one of our regulations could affect thousands to millions of people, many of whom didn’t speak English as a first language. So we had to get the language right.
What it Takes to Tweet Live – How Circuit Media Helped ClearMark Awards
Now that the frenetics of launching the annual ClearMark Awards are over, the Center for Plain Language had a chance to chat with two leaders from a great social media advisor/aide: Circuit Media, based in Denver, CO.
How Plain Language Could Help Reduce Scams
By Tanner Call I’ve recently been the target of a clever direct mail scam. It involves convincing the potential victim that their vehicle’s warranty is about to expire and that they need to renew it soon. The letter includes “official” components such as a barcode, logo, reference number, and even a chart with a summary […]
Facebook knew better
A few weeks ago, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg testified before the Senate. That’s not news.
Senator John Kennedy (R-LA) stated the obvious: “Here’s what everyone’s been trying to tell you today — and I say it gently — your user agreement sucks.” Senator Kennedy suggested that Mr. Zuckerberg tell his $1,200/hour lawyer to write the agreement in English, “so the average American user can understand.”
Facebook knows how to do this, at least fairly well. So why didn’t they?
Lost in translation: Making health insurance content clear, not cryptic
A friend on Facebook recently posted, “I just got an email from Blue Cross urging me to ‘use my benefits’ because the end of the year is coming. Honestly have no idea what to make of that.” Especially since after two emergency room visits, “I have super definitely ‘used my benefits’ this year.”
Writing for health insurance customers is tough.