Why isn't the Plain Writing Act working?

After five years of the Plain Writing Act, little has changed

It's an election year here in the USA, and the only thing the presidential candidates agree on is that the federal government needs to become much more efficient. They're all promising to make it happen, but so far nobody's promised to improve the way the feds communicate with the public.

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Need to correct cGMP deviations? Look beyond “human error”.

Need to correct cGMP deviations? Look beyond “human error”.
Do pharmas overuse "Human error"? I'm always suspicious when anyone uses "human error" to explain away problems caused by poor product quality, bad design or incomprehensible instructions. So when I read some recent articles that blamed up to 80% of pharmaceutical cGMP deviations on human error, my antennae went up right away. A number that hi...
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Nobody wants to read what you write!

I like to write, but as a writer of business communications, I'm faced with a hard truth—nobody wants to read the stuff I'm writing. Watching people use my documents, it's obvious to me that they aren't reading—they're skipping and scanning through the content, hunting for the information they need. They're in a hurry to get back to whatever they were doing, as quickly as possible. 

Good writers understand this and design documents that help users find what they're looking for. 

Recent Comments
Guest — Michael Bailey
I used to organised economics and banking conferences and we always had the issue of maintaining a balance between the practitione... Read More
Saturday, 23 April 2016 08:39
Guest — AnnieRose Kitchin
No, I don't agree that wit, humour, surprises etc are not welcome: on the contrary! Far from being a "distraction", in the bad sen... Read More
Saturday, 23 April 2016 15:34
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3 Tips for Disgruntled Technical Communicators

rodney dangerfield2

Feeling under-appreciated? You’re not alone. If you spend time on technical communicators’ Internet groups, you can’t help but notice frequent complaints that upper management doesn’t acknowledge the value of documentation or give those who create it the respect they deserve.

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LavaCon 2015 Takeaway: The Power of Knowing Your Audience


It was an absolute pleasure for me to attend and present at the 2015 LavaCon Conference on content strategy and Techcomm management the week of October 18th. Little did I know what was in store for me when I arrived in New Orleans that Sunday morning.

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Guest — Raul Hidalgo
Very nice informative blog which tell the knowing of your audience. If you are not know your target audience then it is big proble... Read More
Wednesday, 25 November 2015 07:22
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Information Mapping at tcworld in Stuttgart (Germany)


Last week Information Mapping exhibited at tcworld 2015, the largest European (and probably also the largest global) event and marketplace for technical communication. 

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Guest — Anais
Belle initiative Mapping Information. Thanks for the information.
Tuesday, 08 December 2015 21:06
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Getting non-writers to create usable documentation: 5 essentials for success

non writer

The hostess at a restaurant isn’t asked to prepare the food. Nobody expects the sales manager at an auto dealership to repair transmissions or adjust brakes. Yet within enterprises all over the world, engineers, IT professionals, business analysts, administrative managers, supervisors and other employees are routinely tasked with writing policies and procedures, work instructions and many other types of documentation.

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Want faster results from your business communications? Slow down, use plain language—and be prepared to pay the costs.

telephone cans

Writing in plain language is supposed to clarify and simplify, so readers can work quickly and easily. But writing with clarity and simplicity isn’t quick or easy. It isn’t cheap, either.

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So you’ve developed a Corporate Content Standard? That’s great—but your work has just begun.

standardize sign

Apathetic leaders, change-resistant employees and lack of training can put the kibosh on your implementation plans.

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Report from the Summit: Don’t exclude users from the development process

no end user feedback

The STC’s annual Technical Communications Summit is always among the year’s most rewarding and interesting professional events. The 2015 Summit in Columbus, OH last month was no exception. The Information Mapping team was there, working and playing hard as sponsors, speakers and exhibitors at the conference.

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