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Plain English Campaign help

Community Veteran
Posts: 2,106
Registered: 06-02-2008

Plain English Campaign help

My name's Ben, I'm one of the Technical Support guys in the CSC but I'm helping our products team with a project for the Plain English Campaign. I'd really like your input on creating a glossary of technical terms to be integrated into our website - thanks in advance for any help that you can give!
We like to keep our website simple, but inevitably it contains a lot of technical terms that some of our customers don't understand. To try to get around this, we'd like to collate a list of terms and their corresponding explanations to make understanding our website easier - this will then be integrated into a glossary that pops up when you hold your mouse over the relevant word and will contain a link to a Wikipedia article for a more in-depth explanation.
When you browse the PlusNet webpage, what don't you understand? During the signup process, what could be made clearer? To get you started, here's our list so far:
    * Broadband : High-speed internet access.
    * ADSL : The method that we supply high-speed internet access, through your telephone line.
    * Data transfer / usage allowance : The total amount of information that you can send and receive in a month.
    * Peer to peer : A method to share or download files between internet users by using programs such as Bitorrent or Napster.
    * Streaming : Sound and pictures transmitted in a steady flow of data such as Youtube, iPlayer or 4 on Demand
    * Downloading : Collecting data from the internet, such as browsing web pages or saving files to your computer
    * 8Mbit : The fastest internet access we supply. The actual rate you receive will depend on your telephone line, location and other factors.
    * Broadband phone / VoIP : A way of making telephone calls over your internet connection.
    * Router / modem : The hardware needed to make a broadband connection.
    * Wireless : Sending your internet connection a short distance by radio.
    * Spam : Unsolicited bulk email.
    * Enhanced care : A chargeable priority support service for business customers.
    * Max premium : Faster speeds to send more information to the internet, often used by home workers.
    * SDSL : A business product that allows customers to send information to the internet as fast as they can receive it.
----------------

Thanks for any input,
Ben
104 REPLIES
Community Veteran
Posts: 7,149
Thanks: 51
Fixes: 2
Registered: 30-08-2007

Re: Plain English Campaign help

Good idea, much in favour of anything that simplifies jargon.
Worked in the department that produced instruction books for Hoover products once upon a time, received an award from the Crystal Clear Society.  not too much to do with me but, we were very proud of that.
But suggest you make this post "sticky" to the top of the page though, for a while. 
Experience; is something you gain, just after you needed it most.

When faced with two choices, simply toss a coin. It works not because it settles the question for you. But because in that brief moment while the coin is in the air. You suddenly know what you are hoping for.
Captainkirk
Grafter
Posts: 92
Registered: 07-12-2007

Re: Plain English Campaign help

Great idea Ben - thought perhaps the wireless explanation could do with a bit more - had to set up a wireless router for a relation recently who thought that 'wireless' broadband came down the telephone wire differently to 'wired' broadband.  They may also think that a radio is require to send the broadband Smiley
Tracey
VileReynard
Seasoned Pro
Posts: 10,580
Thanks: 191
Fixes: 9
Registered: 01-09-2007

Re: Plain English Campaign help

What is
Quote
Max premium

It's obviously marketing-speak and hence meaningless.
Does it mean that I have to pay a premium to avoid being artificially slowed down?

pierre_pierre
Grafter
Posts: 19,757
Registered: 30-07-2007

Re: Plain English Campaign help

I dont know if it is going to far in that direction, but should you not exand on the abriviations, for instance VOIP, it would be an  easy definition to say Voice Over Internet Protocol
another thing that wants sorting is the over use of to some obscur acronyms, afaik imho means in my humble opinion, but LOL is not the same as lol
Bob_Milton
Grafter
Posts: 688
Registered: 31-07-2007

Re: Plain English Campaign help

Just a few things that could do with explanations,
Mbit ( include the differences with bits and bytes etc), Usenet, Webmail, Domain, SQL, CGI, HTML, SMTP, LLU, MTU, DNS, SMF, VPN, 'sticky' (with  reference to a post).
In fact any more abbreviations.
Community Veteran
Posts: 16,831
Thanks: 1,116
Fixes: 13
Registered: 06-11-2007

Re: Plain English Campaign help

A suggestion about " Download" and "upload".....
Download - information (websites etc.,) coming from the internet to your computer.... 
Upload .... information (instructions - search on google for... etc) from you/your computer to the internet/websites
Or a clearer explanation ....
Wink
Community Veteran
Posts: 16,831
Thanks: 1,116
Fixes: 13
Registered: 06-11-2007

Re: Plain English Campaign help

A "gripe" about the bottom paragraph on the web page.....
Quote

PlusNet - high-speed up to 8Mb broadband


Why is this paragraph, surely a very important part of what PlusNet is all about, in such a "wishy washy" colour, that it is almost unreadable..... I am indoors during daylight hours, on a laptop, and light from a window over my shoulder.... Normal print is fine to read..... to make this paragraph readable, I "selected" it as if doing copy and paste.... this gave me a red background with white text.... No problems reading it....
Normal viewers with poor eyesight might find this impossible to read....
Bob_Milton
Grafter
Posts: 688
Registered: 31-07-2007

Re: Plain English Campaign help

I agree wholeheartedly with shutter's last comments, if he hadn't mentioned it I wouldn't have known it was there.
Community Veteran
Posts: 16,831
Thanks: 1,116
Fixes: 13
Registered: 06-11-2007

Re: Plain English Campaign help

Some web designers are like house designers...... they think "wishy washy" colours are "trendy" and give the finished product a touch of "class"..... they do not think further than their desk.....  Sad
pierre_pierre
Grafter
Posts: 19,757
Registered: 30-07-2007

Re: Plain English Campaign help

I wear glasses but I wouldnt say it was poor, I cant read that item at all without tilting my laptop around, away from square on by about 60 degree back
alanf
Aspiring Pro
Posts: 1,931
Thanks: 77
Fixes: 1
Registered: 17-10-2007

Re: Plain English Campaign help

There needs to be a description of the various parts of Plusnet. When I arrived it took a while to work out CSC, BOT etc.
Community Veteran
Posts: 16,831
Thanks: 1,116
Fixes: 13
Registered: 06-11-2007

Re: Plain English Campaign help

Quote

There needs to be a description of the various parts of Plusnet.

Which could be presented as a graphic similar to a "clock face"  or "Wheel" ,  PlusNet at the centre, and radiating spokes to each section CSC  BOT etc., and a mouseover link to the contact/information page for that section.....
jmd
Grafter
Posts: 2,933
Thanks: 2
Registered: 30-07-2007

Re: Plain English Campaign help

Phrases like "LOL" or "lol" and "AFAIK" really annoy me as I do not really understand what they mean, well I thought I did then someone seems to use it in a different way!
Perhaps some could translate those into plain English? Huh
pierre_pierre
Grafter
Posts: 19,757
Registered: 30-07-2007

Re: Plain English Campaign help

I gets me confused LOL or lol, one is lots of love the others is Laugh out loud
thats afik - as far as i know
BTW hows the snow  (BTW by the way)  iirc  (if i remember correctly
iftc I fink that korrect.

Part two
for a really good home page from a fellow member with click over links see http://www.seanbranagh.ie/