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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28 November 2010

Clear writing in Europe

We're pleased to hear that Sandra Fisher-Martins of Portugues Claro had a great day at the 'Clear Writing throughout Europe' conference on 26 November. Sandra spoke to the conference about breaking down barriers to plain language in Portugal.

The conference was organised by the European Commission. Check out their useful booklet with advice on how to write clearly. You'll find it at the link below, under the heading 'Clear writing guide'.

16 November 2010

ClearMark meets WriteMark

The organisers of the ClearMark Awards -- the US plain language awards -- have asked Write's CEO Lynda Harris to be a judge in 2011. The first ClearMark Awards were held in April this year. Lynda is thrilled to be taking part in the second event, and more than a little proud that the ClearMark Awards take their inspiration from New Zealand's own WriteMark Awards! If you're going to be in Washington in April, mark this event in your diary!

To find out more, visit

11 November 2010

But can I use it?

Today is World Usability Day. This year's theme is communication. According to Elizabeth Rosenzweig, founder of World Usability Day, the day will 'serve as an impetus to creating greater awareness for designs, products and services that improve and facilitate communication around the world'.

Usability most often applies to websites. When we're not talking about websites, usability is generally called universal design.

Plain English and usability go hand-in-hand. For people to understand your website, form, manual, email, presentation, or report, you need to communicate clearly. And you need to make sure that your whole audience finds your communication easy to use.

Some usability experts are Whitney Quesenbery, Jakob Nielsen, and Gerry McGovern. New Zealand companies that specialise in usability are AccEase and Optimal Usability.

For information about World Usability Day, see

For information about universal design, see

For information about Whitney Quesenbery, see

For information about Jakob Nielsen, see

For information about Gerry McGovern, see

For information about AccEase, see

For information about Optimal Usability, see

Travel with a sharpie

If you spot typos everywhere you go, here's the story of a roadtrip with a difference.

03 November 2010

Engaging legal help just got easier

We jumped at the chance to be part of an international team working on a document rewrite project for Clarity 2010, the plain language legal conference held in October.

Several months of work later, here are the results of our project published on the Clarity website. Watch for more projects from around the world to be published soon.

01 November 2010

Foreign words that express a sentiment better than English words

Have you ever discovered a particular word in another language that expresses something more perfectly than any English words ever could?

Check out this entertaining article posted on the Matador Network with words from many different languages.