Grades for content quality from federal agencies

Since 2010, the Center for Plain Language annually judges the quality of content produced by US government agencies. The results for 2017 are shown below. I love these report cards for several reasons but chief among them is that they use an evidence-based approach. On a shoestring budget. Most complaints about content quality are vague. But the…

Editors insure content matches audience readiness for it

My technical editing students are working on a developmental edit on some assembly instructions from Ikea. To help them make good recommendations, we’ve been discussing how to help content creators address the readers’ readiness for that content. Readiness is a concept borrowed from leadership research (the Hersey-Blanchard Situational Leadership theory) to describe how able and…

The (sub)genre of the executive summary. [Version 2.0]

[updated from the original post on March 16, 2016] When a business professional needs to influence other people to do something not obviously beneficial to them, the individual often writes a persuasive document. That’s why we have proposals, business plans, recommendation reports, white papers, etc. Because such documents present complex information, they are usually lengthy. But readers are busy! So…

Theory vs Experience. Again.

This post has appeared before. It’s a different set of students today. And a different university this time. But much remains the same… Many people believe you have to choose between experience and theory when you want to gain knowledge or skills. But the choice represents a false dichotomy. It’s on my mind today as I…