Author Archive | McKinley Valentine

Experts vs beginners: know your audience

You cannot write well if you don’t know your audience. It’s one of the first questions we ask our clients. The same point can and should be conveyed completely differently, depending on who will be reading it. In the most recent episode of Wired’s new 5 Levels of Difficulty series, ‘musician, composer and multi-instrumentalist Jacob […]

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BBC Subcommittee on Words goes rogue and has to be shut down

At the birth of British broadcasting, in the 1920s, radio presenters spoke with a range of accents and dialects, representing the considerable diversity of the British Isles. The BBC’s first managing director wanted to standardise usage and pronunciation, and set up the BBC Advisory Committee on Spoken English, chaired by playwright George Bernard Shaw. The […]

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The unexpected history of ‘Mrs’

The use of ‘Ms’, once controversial, is now mainstream. But it’s not so long ago it was viewed as political correctness gone mad. Personally, it’s bizarre to imagine that complete strangers ever felt entitled to know whether or not I am married. Picture a news article beginning ‘The unmarried CEO of BHP Billiton today announced…’ […]

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Leading the reading: wayfinding in document design

‘Wayfinding refers to information systems that guide people through a physical environment and enhance their understanding and experience of the space.’ Wayfinding is especially important in complex built environments such as airports, hospitals and universities. While you’ve probably noticed the more obvious examples of wayfinding – maps and signs – you may have been gently […]

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