Elegant Precision: Connect with People Using Plain Language

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Disconnect from your thesaurus and reconnect with people using targeted, actionable, and precise language.

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Elegant Precision: Connect with People Using Plain Language

  1. 1. Elegant PrecisionConnect with People Using Plain Language Lauren Colton @LaurenTGC" Information Architect & Editor" Gravity Works Design & Development
  2. 2. #elegantwordsCommunication your audience can understandthe first time they read or hear it. Plain language is defined by results: it is easyto read, understand, and use.
  3. 3. #elegantwordsWhat?“I make my living through the relationshipsgarnered utilizing LinkedIn.”
  4. 4. #elegantwordsElegance 1.  Engagement with ethnic rivalries and religious beliefs. 2.  Fair, transparent economic development.http://www.ted.com/talks/eric_berlow_how_complexity_leads_to_simplicity.html
  5. 5. #elegantwordsWhen Words MatterInformation Architecture: can people navigatewhat they need?Content Strategy: what conversation are youhaving with current and potential clients?Search Engine Optimization: can people find you?Usability: can people meet their goalsefficiently, effectively, and with satisfaction?
  6. 6. #elegantwordsLearn moreOn Writing WellWilliam Zinsser
  7. 7. #elegantwordsSpeak to your audience•  Who is this conversation with?•  What is the context?•  What are your goals? Their goals?•  Will goals be met with these words?
  8. 8. #elegantwordsThe “Mom Test”1.  List your assumptions on what these users care about.2.  Write your copy based on those assumptions.3.  Would your mom say this (or call your shenanigans)?4.  If no, try again.http://alistapart.com/article/being-real-builds-trust
  9. 9. #elegantwordsFor exampleCage Fighting Babies*A Mobile Application*I do not endorse the actual fightingof babies, in cages or otherwise.
  10. 10. #elegantwordsYou are entering a contract to develop theCage Fighting Babies mobile application.
  11. 11. #elegantwordsKnow which grammar rules matter We will create Android, iPhone and iPadapplication interfaces.We will create Android, iPhone, and iPadapplication interfaces.
  12. 12. #elegantwordsLearn moreGrammar Girl’s Quick andDirty Tips for Better WritingMignon Fogarty
  13. 13. #elegantwordsCollaborating with stakeholders.
  14. 14. #elegantwordsUse pronounsAfter reviewing the feedback, a meeting shouldbe scheduled.After reviewing your feedback, we willschedule a meeting with you.
  15. 15. #elegantwordsCreating the design concept.
  16. 16. #elegantwordsUse visual aidesSimplify complex data.Show structure,highlight key facts, andcompare options.•  Tables•  Illustrations•  Bulleted lists
  17. 17. #elegantwordsWriting button text.
  18. 18. #elegantwordsBe actionableClick here to battleBattle!
  19. 19. #elegantwordsExplaining the rewards program.
  20. 20. #elegantwordsBe precise•  Most-important message at the top•  Headings throughout•  Avoid clutter with short sentences, and short paragraphs
  21. 21. #elegantwordsBe preciseIf you want extra strength in today’s battles,the best way to do that is to check in today,on Foursquare, at your local Starbucks.Check in at Starbucks on Foursquare forextra strength in today’s battles.
  22. 22. #elegantwordsUser has not created a profilebefore entering first battle.
  23. 23. #elegantwordsAvoid hidden verbsTo enter a battle, you must complete theregistration form.You must register to battle.
  24. 24. #elegantwordsSurveying users on their experience.
  25. 25. #elegantwordsPromote descriptors, demote exceptions Did you press the button that is red to battle,before creating your profile?Before creating your profile, did you press thered button to battle?
  26. 26. #elegantwordsUsers are searching the app store.
  27. 27. #elegantwordsCommon words, common meaningsCreate character profiles and battle with bandoboxers, buckaroos, and Martians.Create character profiles and battle withninjas, cowboys, and aliens.
  28. 28. #elegantwordsLearn morewww.plainlanguage.gov
  29. 29. #elegantwords@laurentgc lauren [at] gravityworksdesign [dot] com
  30. 30. #elegantwordsFor targeted, actionable, andprecise language•  Use visual aides, pronouns, and active voice•  Remove useless words•  Promote descriptors, demote exceptions•  Common words, common meanings

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