Blog: Content that makes you happy

Classic manual on plain language: Complete Plain Words by Ernest Gowers

Cover of Complete Plain Words, Ernest Gower, 1954

The Complete Plain Words is the UK equivalent of The Elements of Style. It is the biggest-ever bestseller from Her Majesty's Stationery Office, and has never been out of print since 1954.

The first edition in 1948 was a radical call to clarity from a top civil servant. Anything written by Sir Ernest Gowers, formerly Private Secretary to Lloyd George, had the ring of authority. 

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Web accessibility: deadline for self-assessment January 2015

International disability signs, Wikimedia

Accessibility deadlines coming up soon! They apply to all Public Service departments and Non-Public Service departments in the NZ State Services.

DIA expects each department to assess the accessibility of all its websites and intranets by January 2015.

Whew! How are you doing? Are you on track?

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Contented CPD programmes now accredited by CPD Standards Office


CPD Standards Office logoWe've been accredited by the CPD Standards Office in London for four of our online programmes! 
The process was tough, involving rigorous examination of our programmes from both instructional design and continuing professional development perspectives. And that was good: we tightened up and smartened up. (I refuse to say we "manned up".)

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Readability tests: a tactful way to help bad writers


A Gobbledygook by Niki DalyRaising the topic of readability can be a delicate business. Is your boss out of touch with customers? Is a distinguished expert sending unreadable articles to a newsletter you edit? Is a colleague converting your plain English to gobbledegook?

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The unforgettable DARE conference: people skills for digital workers

DARE conference 2014 logo: people skills for digital workersMy report on the DARE conference 2014 in London was going to happen as soon as the final batch of videos was posted. Here they are now:

Watch at your leisure: 10 videos of DAREconf speakers

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Simplicity of language is testable — how about clarity?

To make written web content accessible, it should ideally be as clear and simple as possible. One word, plain as in plain language, means both clear and simple. But what we often forget is that these are two entirely different qualities. 

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Why the WCAG 2.0 reading level criterion is doomed

There's a major problem with the international web accessibility guideline designed to ensure that web content is as clear and simple as possible.

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