Writing

The Content Corner: Optimize Your Content

Aug 31, 2015 |

For the past several weeks, I have been writing about fairly cerebral and more technical aspects of content generation and language in general. This week, I felt it was time to get back to a more basic content concept: content optimization. Frequently when content optimization is discussed it is heavily focused on search engine optimization Read »

18F’s Style Guide for Open Source Project Documentation

Aug 3, 2015 |

We routinely publish our best practices in the 18F Guides, and today we’re happy to launch a new one: the 18F Open Source Style Guide. The Open Source Style Guide is a comprehensive handbook for writing clear, accessible, and user-friendly documentation so that Read »

Get Out of the Jargon Trap: Plain Language Training Can Help

Aug 15, 2014 |

The Plain Language Action and Information Network (PLAIN) is the official federal working group designated to help agencies with plain language, including training. PLAIN offers free 3.5-hour classes in the principles of plain language and plain language for Web writing. Read »

Social Media: Accessibility Issues and Solutions

Jun 30, 2014 |

The more public information is digitized, the more it lands on or sprouts from social media channels. This is why there needs to be a greater level of awareness and consideration for those who can benefit most from that information—people with disabilities—since they have the least access to it. Like many websites, social media platforms Read »

Using Visual Content to Drive Engagement

Jun 23, 2014 |

You’ve probably noticed the trend toward more visual content being shared across social platforms—pictures, infographics and how-to videos seem to be popping up everywhere. We certainly noticed that trend across several government social media properties, so when Read »

Civic Hacking: Pathways for Participation

May 2, 2014 |

The National Day of Civic Hacking is actually a weekend. An awe-inspiring two days of collaborative work where coders, designers, writers, innovative thinkers, Read »

How to Tell Your Agency’s Story—Plainly

Apr 16, 2014 |

You’ve got the right words, the active verbs, the carefully chosen adjectives and adverbs. You’ve got the facts. You’ve got the talking points. All you have to do is put it together, right? Wait. What you want to tell people is not necessarily what they need to know. I know it’s hard to organize material Read »

Plain Language Page Titles: More Important than Ever

Mar 28, 2014 |

Government Web pages are found mainly through search engines. Google recently redesigned its search results page and there are quite a few small, but impactful, changes in this latest redesign. Specifically, it affects how page titles are displayed. Many experts now recommend even Read »

Creating E-Books: Think Functionality, Not Aesthetics

Mar 7, 2014 |

E-books are great for one thing: reading on mobile devices. Their reflowable text adjusts to fit the reader’s smartphone, tablet or e-reader in the type size the reader chooses. They are essential for reading on smartphones, and better than pdf’s for all but the biggest tablets. But e-books are not great for design. They’re generally Read »

Plain Language Ninja

Sep 26, 2013 |

A few days ago a coworker asked me to look at a paragraph. He said it was on the top customer service priorities in our division. So I scooted my chair over and looked at it. Then I looked at him and asked, “But what Read »

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