Fed Tech BISNOW: Say What?

From FED TECH BISNOW, November 9, 2011

VisibleThread CEO Fergal McGovern is trying to clean up government language. We’re not talkin’ 4-letter words (or else the FCC would have nothing to write on its site.) Fergal says there’s plenty of passive language and wordy sentences. His software firm analyzes document content and recently studied 100 pages belonging to 30 government sites for clarity and transparency. The top three best written websites are Bureau of Labor Statistics, CDC, and Census. The bottom three were the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, Pension Benefit Guaranty Corp., and the Federal Railroad Administration. (No Department of Education. Sorry, irony.)

The top 10 best sites.

Fergal and his Baltimore team studied several readability factors including the sentence length (over 25 is a no-no), clarity of consumer info, and how many words had a high number of syllables. VisibleThread was inspired to undertake the study based on the Plain Writing Act passed last year. Agencies had until last month to make their sites more readable by consumers. Fergal says he’s working with one particular agency to help get clearer content into agency websites.

From FED TECH BISNOW, November 9, 2011

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