Readability in Practice: My Grade Level in Covid

I consider myself something of an expert in readability (and specifically health literacy). Yet I was shocked to find that this spring, consumed by Covid stress, I couldn’t read at all. I now have my own experience to help me empathize with readability challenges. What is Readability? Can you read? It’s easy to think about…

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How to Create Unbiased Mental Models

One of my favorite best practices in UX is the use of “mental models”. Mental models help UX designers and content strategists create experiences that make sense. For example, a mental model of a door has it open from the side. This is a mental model so ingrained that no one would think to design…

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Clear Language Means Clear Understanding

As a content strategist, it’s easy to focus on clear language. But in my experience, the first step is understanding what you’re trying to say. A colleague recently asked me for help making a presentation clearer, before handing it off to a client. He sent me the paragraph of text he was struggling with. As…

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Plain Language during a Pandemic

What can a content strategist do during a pandemic? Help communicate important information using plain language. I’ve defined plain language before, and even presented on how healthcare writing can benefit from plain language. Now we put it into practice to help people. People need content strategy – they need plain language during a pandemic. Why…

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How SEO Taught Me to be a Better Writer

As an ex-SEO hater, it almost pains me to say this: SEO taught me to be a better writer. I didn’t think of it this way until I read a 2018 article by Jill Kurtz, called “Ditch Your SEO Baggage and Focus on What Matters.” Suddenly, as I read Jill’s perspective on SEO, I saw…

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Healthcare Emotions Don’t Ease with Knowledge

As a a healthcare writer I often tell people how complex healthcare emotions are. And I write about how friends and family members can help patients through the complexity. But this week I was that friend/family member, and my knowledge didn’t help. What do we tell people, and why isn’t it enough to manage the…

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10 Great Ways to Start a Presentation

When I saw the title “10 Terrible Ways to Start a Presentation” I was hooked. It’s a good headline. And when I read the article, it delivered. Those are, indeed, bad ways to start a presentation. But there were no suggestions of what to do. I realized what I really wanted: 10 great ways to…

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CEOs Don’t Care About Content

Hilary Marsh recently interviewed four CEOs to understand how they evaluate content strategy success. One of her final takeaways was this: Content is something all CEOs should care about. Hilary Marsh, How Does Your CEO Know Your Content Strategy Is Successful? While I agree with Hilary, I’m not optimistic about CEOs caring about content. CEOs…

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