This blog shares some of our thoughts about plain language, and the latest discussions about plain English and clear design in New Zealand, and around the world.

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04 April 2011

Simplicity makes your message stronger

In October 2008, Apple introduced its next-generation MacBook laptop computer. At the launch, Apple co-founder Steve Jobs invited design guru Jonathan Ive onstage to explain how they made a notebook that was significantly lighter and sturdier. Ive told the audience that Apple’s new design eliminated two-thirds of the computer’s major structural parts. He said reducing the number of parts naturally made the computer thinner; but contrary to what you’d expect, eliminating parts also made it more rigid and robust — the computer was stronger. That’s an analogy for writing. Eliminate unnecessary words, and your message will be stronger. According to Ive, ‘We are absolutely consumed by trying to develop a solution that is very simple, because as physical beings we understand clarity.’ This anecdote is from a webinar by Carmine Gallo, a columnist for Bloomberg Businessweek . She wrote The Innovation Secrets of Steve Jobs. She says, ‘Your customers demand simplicity, and simplicity requires that you eliminate anything that clutters the user experience — whether in product design, website navigation, marketing and advertising materials, or presentation slides. Say ‘no’ more often than ‘yes.’’ That counts for words, too.

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