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Australian English—where the bloody hell did it come from?

How do we explain the general homogeneity of the Australian accent (almost no variation in a country 30 times the size of Britain)? What is Australian English, anyway? (Is it more than just the accent?) This post explores these questions, and influences on Australian English—from colonial times to present day.

By |2017-05-19T08:20:32+10:00June 16th, 2015|Did you know, Etymology, Grammar, Linguistics|0 Comments

Anchoring bias

None of us are safe from the anchoring bias. The way we reason is coloured by our experiences, our parents' experiences, where we live, what we do. And little behavioural shortcuts are hardwired into our brains—these might help us make quicker decisions, but they don’t help us make better ones. One of them is the [...]

By |2017-05-19T08:20:32+10:00June 7th, 2015|Did you know, Legal writing, Psychology|1 Comment

An accessibility issue often overlooked: Grade level readability

There’s this thing called the WCAG: Web Content Accessibility Guidelines. They set out all the good things you need to do to make your content accessible for people with disability, people including those with vision impairment (an estimated 300,000 in Australia alone), and also people with other kinds of disability, such as cognitive or motor [...]

By |2017-05-19T08:20:34+10:00May 5th, 2015|Accessibility, Did you know, UX, Web writing|0 Comments

Don’t separate a subject from its verb

See this simple sentence: The dog bit the cat. It's built of these basic bits: The dog [subject] bit [verb] the cat [object]. You would never dream of putting a comma after the subject and before the verb: The dog, bit the cat. [No. You wouldn't do this, would you?] But when the subject is a longer noun phrase, many people (I catch myself sometimes) will want to add a comma after the subject, just it feels like there should be a pause...

By |2017-05-19T08:20:53+10:00March 20th, 2015|Did you know, Grammar, Punctuation|0 Comments

Writing good error messages

To my ever-expanding frustration, and general astonishment (to which my wife expresses a weary kind of amazement: why are you so surprised, you know it does that...), things never seem to go entirely smoothly. (And if they do, I'm left with a trepidatious feeling that things in fact haven't gone smoothly,  and that I just [...]

By |2017-05-19T08:20:54+10:00March 18th, 2015|Accessibility, Design, Did you know, Pinned, UX, Web writing|0 Comments