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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21 July 2014

Designing information that people can use

‘Information’ is such a loaded word, isn’t it. Giving out information or writing it doesn’t mean that listeners and readers can use it.

Listeners and readers have to understand it, take it in and organise it so they can use it for their own benefit or for their family’s or client’s benefit. Some brain gym is involved in using information. It’s called ‘functional literacy’ — the ability to manage the information demands of daily life.

Many organisations work on information design. And some organisations work on measuring how effective public information is. They test information against criteria for effectiveness. Sometimes they ask users of information to test information and say how easy it is to read, understand, and use.

If your information is effective, it’s a good return on your investment (ROI). If it’s not effective, you’ve wasted your money, and readers have missed your message.

For more about testing information for effectiveness, look at this blog post by David Sless that caught our eye:

He has excellent ‘before’ and ‘after’ examples on his website too.

And for more about what makes information easy to use, check out our newsletters and tips at:

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