Plain-language campaigns: articles on various topics
Gorenje website: really ‘Life Simplified’? (2015)
Websites should be easy to read AND easy to use. They waste time and infuriate people when they aren’t.
When our informant ‘Deep Freeze’ decided to register the five-year guarantee on her new fridge, she didn't expect to spend an hour and a half on such a supposedly simple task and still not succeed.
But a poorly explained task on a poorly designed website meant exactly that. Martin Cutts reports on Deep Freeze’s usability headache.
Care-home-fees cap pledge betrayed (2015)
The UK’s then prime minister, David Cameron, emphasized the importance of using plain language in government. But after making a clear manifesto pledge to support self-funders in care homes, he broke it weeks after winning the election.
The manifesto promise was to apply a £72,000 lifetime cap to the fees that self-funding residents of care homes have to pay. In this tough but non-party-political article, Martin Cutts examines how and why the pledge was broken.
Complaining about bad writing: does it achieve anything except make me feel better? (2011)
Signs so unclear they rip off thousands of drivers every year... Official letters that are anything but plain English... Misleading leaflets from the local council... TV licence forms that make no sense... Gobbledygook in product instructions...
All these things cause friction and frustration and can be costly. But what happens when you complain to the people responsible for bad official writing?
Martin Cutts decided to find out, and his entertaining article shows that sometimes they ignore you, sometimes they send you an illiterate reply, and sometimes they become a good business customer. The article also explains how one complaint about unclear road signs led to motorists saving £19,000 a year in parking penalties.