Why Triggering Language Matters

“Triggered” might just be the word of the year. It’s showing up in political discussions, on college campuses, in relation to gender equality, rape culture, military history, suicidal fears, domestic abuse, racial slurs, sexual abuse, and the list goes on.

Generally speaking, we read it referred to for two reasons:

  1. People defending the right to free speech without worrying about who they might “trigger”
  2. People requesting a safe space where they will experience no “triggers”

These responses seem to assume that triggers are static things that people are impacted by, or that they make up. But a trigger isn’t always a word or phrase that defies political correctness. It’s not always a joke in poor taste, or something said to shock. For content strategists working in healthcare, triggers are associations that impact patients’ ability to care for themselves. Continue Reading


Adding Clarity, not Confusion

A recent project has been keeping me very busy, as we redesign a site with numerous content problems, including a large amount of jargon-heavy copy. Our next step is to prioritize the many pages that need rewrites. We’ll know we’ve been successful if users are able to understand information without calling the help line.

And now we’re faced with a conundrum.

In the case of a complex jargon-filled site, just updating copy to be clear can make a world of difference. In that case, creating a personality-filled voice can either make the copy even better, or just add confusion.

Here are 5 tips for creating a jargon-free, confusion-free voice: Continue Reading