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CSUN 2017: Words matter - writing for everyone

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By Allison Ravenhall.
Do you write anything? Advice about using plain language, identifying your audience and visual presentation. Also includes a fun xkcd reference to show you can write about complex stuff without using technical jargon.

Published in: Education
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CSUN 2017: Words matter - writing for everyone

  1. 1. Words Matter: Writing for Everyone Allison Ravenhall  @RavenAlly Digital Accessibility Sensei Intopia  @Intopiadigital
  2. 2. Hello! I like LEGO, cats, karate, and making stuff accessible I’m from Melbourne (“mel-bun”) Australia
  3. 3.  Internal messages  Email  Video transcripts Writing at  Blogs  Tweets  Facebook posts  Proposals  Testing & usability reports  Defect lists  Presentations  Website content Braille cupcakes
  4. 4. Before you write anything… … who are you writing for?
  5. 5. First, just write. Proofread later.
  6. 6. Cut the jargon and fancy words You’re not impressing anyone
  7. 7. My job description I am a digital accessibility consultant. I advise organisations about training, requirements, design, testing and implementation of accessible web sites and native mobile apps. I am particularly interested in the wording and presentation of text, instructions and errors. I am a digital accessibility consultant. I advise organisations about training, requirements, design, testing and implementation of accessible web sites and native mobile apps. I am particularly interested in the wording and presentation of text, instructions and errors.
  8. 8. The Up Goer Five version In my job, I help computer-people build things that lots of people can use, considering different sight, hearing, moving and thinking. I give ideas and try things and suggest fixes to problems. I also write and present training. I like to focus on how we use words.
  9. 9. Slang and local references …can confuse and exclude
  10. 10. Lies, damned lies & readability statistics
  11. 11. Flesch Reading Ease 0 – 30 = Very hard to read 60 – 70 = Plain English 90 – 100 = Very easy to read Flesch-Kincaid Grade Level More focus on sentence length Passive Sentences “Mistakes were made by the presenter” vs. “The presenter made mistakes”
  12. 12. Do the “read aloud” test
  13. 13. Great words suck if you can’t see them
  14. 14. 1.4.8 Showing Words: When showing words: 1. Let people pick their own colours for words and the area behind words 2. Show up to 80 letters and things in a line (or 40 if wide picture-letters) 3. Don't put words against left and right edges of the area at the same time. 4. Make line spacing (leading) at least space-and-a-half within word blocks, and word-block spacing at least 1.5 times larger than the line spacing. 5. Let people make words up to two times bigger and not have to move their full-big window across to read it.
  15. 15. Haiku Choose your words wisely, Present them clearly on screen, Know your audience.
  16. 16. xkcd • Current comic: http://xkcd.com • Transcript + explanation: http://www.explainxkcd.com • Up Goer Five: http://xkcd.com/1133/ • Transcript + explanation: http://www.explainxkcd.com/1133 • Simple Writer text editor: https://xkcd.com/simplewriter/ • Up Goer Five text editor (third party): http://splasho.com/upgoer5/ • Scientific American blog: https://blogs.scientificamerican.com/guest- blog/science-in-ten-hundred-words-the-up-goer-five-challenge/ • http://tenhundredwordsofscience.tumblr.com/

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