Tag Archives: Plain language

Plain Language: Clear and Simple

In 1991, in the heyday of the push for plain language in government, Supply and Services Canada produced a sixty-page plain language writing guide, in each official language, called Plain Language: Clear and Simple and Pour un style clair et … Continue reading

Back to school: A self-indulgent personal post

This week I got an official letter of acceptance to the PhD program in SFU’s Faculty of Health Sciences, where I’ll be studying knowledge translation. In particular, I’ll be looking at ways to apply plain language principles to mental health … Continue reading

Comments on Canada’s science and technology trajectory

I just sent this note in response to Industry Canada’s consultation paper, Seizing Canada’s Moment, and I encourage anyone who has an opinion about Canada’s science and technology strategy to write in as well. You can send your feedback to … Continue reading

Why open access proponents should care about plain language

Virtually all academic research in Canada receives support from one of three federal funding agencies—the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council (SSHRC), Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council (NSERC), or Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR)—and researchers in other countries … Continue reading

Katherine Barber’s PLAIN 2013 banquet talk

I was incredibly privileged to get to see Word Lady Katherine Barber‘s speech at the PLAIN 2013 banquet. Because it was a banquet, I wasn’t rigorously taking notes—and even if I had been, I know I couldn’t do justice to … Continue reading

Kath Straub—Is it really plain? A case for content testing (PLAIN 2013)

Kath Straub of Usability.org showed attendees at PLAIN 2013 how important—and easy—user testing is for plain language projects. She began with an example: the Donate My Data brochure was supposed to inform veterans about a program through which they could … Continue reading

Neil James and Ginny Redish—Writing for the web and mobiles (PLAIN 2013)

Veteran plain language advocates Neil James and Ginny Redish shared some eye-opening statistics about web and mobile use at the PLAIN 2013 conference that may prompt some organizations to reprioritize how they deliver their content. In 2013, for example, there … Continue reading

Mark Hochhauser—How do our readers really think, understand, and decide—despite what they know? (PLAIN 2013)

Mark Hochhauser, who holds a PhD in psychology from the University of Pittsburgh, is a readability consultant based in Minnesota. Writing, reading, judging, and deciding, he explained at his PLAIN 2013 plenary session, are neurobiological processes that take place in … Continue reading

Karen Schriver—Plain by design: Evidence-based plain language (PLAIN 2013)

We may be good at the how of plain language, but the why can be more elusive. To fill in that missing chunk of the puzzle, information design expert Karen Schriver has scoured the empirical research on writing and design … Continue reading

Isabelle Boucher—Plain language is a service to members (PLAIN 2013)

Isabelle Boucher, education officer with the Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE), made a strong case at her PLAIN 2013 plenary session for using plain language in union documentation and union activities. “Unions aren’t just about collective agreements,” she said. … Continue reading