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March 2010 Posts

3/15/2010 1:54:32 PM

250 words the Public Sector shouldn't use

“A webinar trialogue for the welderly”

Impenetrable.

“Multi-agency goldfish bowl facilitated conversation.”

Pardon?

The Local Government Association (LGA) has published the annual list of words that shouldn’t be used by the public sector to talk to the public today. Interviewed on BBC Radio 4’s The Today Programme about the use of this kind of language the LGA's chair, Dame Margaret Eaton said:

“What concerns us is this can prevent people accessing very necessary services. We are in a recession and more and more people require help from their local authority and other public bodies. If the material that goes out to the public is so impenetrable then they won’t access the very services that could help them hugely in this time of recession.”

“…we’ve got to remember that all the things provided, particularly by local authorities and most public bodies, come through peoples’ taxation so they have every right for transparency in the communication and to see what is actually provided and when there are challenges as there will be the public have got to be part of the discussion and part of the process with total clarity.”

Choosing the right language is also important if you want your web site to be accessible. The Web Content Accessibility Guidelines 1.0 says:

“Using clear and simple language promotes effective communication. Access to written information can be difficult for people who have cognitive or learning disabilities. Using clear and simple language also benefits people whose first language differs from your own, including those people who communicate primarily in sign language.”

So please read the LGA’s list (opens new window) and drop the Welderly, the Third sector and the Ambassador (at least when you’re public facing) and make your website more accessible and more easily understood by the public.