The simple blog

Beyond the jargon – simplifying privacy information

We're very happy to partner with Protecture to present a workshop on the design of privacy information. It's on 20 November 2019 in Bristol.

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Remembering algorithms

Visualising legal and regulatory text is quite a current issue. But it's actually quite an old idea. One of the pioneers was Brian LewIs who co-authored pioneering work on flow charts and algorithms in the 1960s.

data-visualisation, diagrams, small-print
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That government consultation on small print

What finally happened to that 2016 government consultation about the small print... not much it seems.

consumer rights act, fine print, government, legibility, small print
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2019 Summer School

We've just finished the 2019 summer school. This person's comment is typical: 'The Summer School changed the way I think about how I communicate. It’s a great opportunity to learn from experts in their field and from working on real-work projects with people who face similar problems to me.'

summer school
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Our new website

We've updated our website, which had become very old and creaky. The new one doesn't look too different but is responsive. It's a soft launch so forgive the inevitable bugs and let us know if you spot any problems - we've launched without being able to test on all devices.

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More on illegible fonts and learning

Several people got in touch about Sans Forgetica, and it seems that this is not the first time sub-legible fonts have been used in attempts to affect cognition. Unfortunately the earlier studies could not be replicated, and there are conclusions to be drawn about the wisdom of extrapolating the results of experiments to the real world too quickly.

education, legibility, reading-strategies
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Sans Forgetica... hmmm

Newspapers the world over have featured a new font developed by RMIT, the Australian university, which claims to aid learning. It’s got a great name, Sans Forgetica, but its designer’s claim sounded preposterous enough for me to check it wasn’t published on 1 April. Designed to be slightly illegible, it slows readers down, and the claimed effect is that they learn more, using a principle known as ‘desirable difficulty’. We're looking for the evidence.

research, legibility
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The 2018 Summer School

The 2018 Information Design Summer School ws held in the fabulous architecture studio at the University of Bath. It's an intensive week of lectures, discussions, and group-working. The projects are based on real problems brought to the summer school by participants, or by outside 'clients'.

summer school
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That consultation on small print: latest news (none)

In 2016 there was a government consultation on terms and conditions, but nearly two years later there is still no report about what was found. The government is obviously distracted by other things at the moment, but it's important they get consumer protection right if we're not going to have the EU to stand up for it in future.

small print
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ASA condemn speeded up legal terms in radio ads

If you ever wondered what the point is of the garbled 'small print' at the end of radio ads, it's now official - there is no point to it at all.

fine-print, legal-information, small-print
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Dumbing down? I wish...

Legislators from time to time make efforts to make the law clearer. Here we point to an objection to simplification raised in the House of Lords in 2012. It's the usual dumbing-down thing, but contains an important truth: that to simplify is to demand the reader's trust.

government, headings, plain-english
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At last: a declaration I can truthfully sign

Most of us routinely lie, perhaps even commit perjury, when we click on a declaration that says 'I have read and understood the terms and conditions'. I've always loved this declaration from the AA, when I joined online a few days back: I confirm you have informed me of the importance of reading these before I buy.

declaration, fine-print, small-print
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Insanely simple: book review

When a book comes out with this title, we have to review it on the Simplification Centre website. It's by Ken Segall who worked for Apple's advertising agency for many years. The simple design of Apple's products and user experience was the vision of one man, with a small group of trusted colleagues. Perhaps alone in the world of big brands, Apple does not believe in doing customer research before launching a new product, although they often respond to critical feedback once a product is launched.

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US election field guides

There's no standard design for US ballot papers, so have developed a set of four field guides to help election officials design, write and test ballot papers to ensure that when it comes to voting day, the vote a voter makes is the one they mean.

design-for-good, voting
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No comment

Companies like to claim their stuff is simple, but it needs to go beyond the headline. Check out this example from LloydsTSB

banks, financial-information, small-print
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Two texts and a diagram

Some concepts are best expressed visually – here's a nice example of graphics used in a leaflet telling householders about responsibility for drainage.

diagrams, small-print, trust
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