Blog – VisibleThread https://www.visiblethread.com Document & Web Content Analysis Solutions Thu, 13 Jun 2019 14:16:19 +0000 en-US hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=5.2.3 https://www.visiblethread.com/wp-content/uploads/cropped-VT-Ico-W-32x32.jpg Blog – VisibleThread https://www.visiblethread.com 32 32 “No Deal” – Brexit information baffles the public, inaccessible to 73%* of the UK population https://www.visiblethread.com/2018/10/no-deal-brexit-information-baffles-the-public-inaccessible-to-73-of-the-uk-population/ Thu, 11 Oct 2018 12:58:12 +0000 https://www.visiblethread.com/?p=16512 “No Deal” – Brexit information baffles the public, inaccessible to 73%* of the UK population This September, Google reported that the most searched questions in the UK related to Brexit. The public is looking for clear communication on what the UK’s departure from the EU will mean. And, they are looking to the government to ...

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“No Deal” – Brexit information baffles the public, inaccessible to 73%* of the UK population

This September, Google reported that the most searched questions in the UK related to Brexit. The public is looking for clear communication on what the UK’s departure from the EU will mean. And, they are looking to the government to get answers.

A common topic discussed is the “No Deal” scenario. Given the critical nature of a potential no deal for the UK economy, the UK’s Department for Exiting the European Union published it’s guidance for “UK government’s preparations for a ‘no deal’ scenario”.

VisibleThread wanted to understand how accessible the government’s content is. And more importantly, is it transparent?

Analyzing the government’s guidance

The UK government shares information about a “No Deal” scenario on a variety of web pages. For our analysis, we examined this guidance page on a no deal scenario.

We analyzed the page with VT Readability, and found some pretty sobering statistics.

 

 

73% of the UK population can’t easily read the page

The “No Deal” page tested returned a grade level of 15.2. This is the equivalent of 15 years education or a 3rd level degree (BA, BSc etc.). According to the last England and Wales census, 27% of the population have a 3rd level education or higher. This means the content is hard to read for a whopping 73% of the population.

Undestanding Brexit - Accessible to Population

Slightly easier to read than the Harvard Law Review

We measured readability using the Flesch-Kincaid Reading Ease Index. It’s a scale from 0 – 100. 100 is the top mark. To communicate to the majority of the population a score of 60 or more is ideal. A good example for this is Harry Potter books which score 72.83.

In stark contrast to Harry Potter, the “No Deal” page scores 32. Just two points above the average readability of the Harvard Law Reviews. And more complex than an academic paper on chess.

 

Increased complexity through long sentences

We also measured the percentage of long sentence use and passive voice. Using sentences longer than 25 words makes them complicated. “No Deal” is already a complex matter. Why make it worse by using wordy copy?  We recommend breaking concepts down into smaller sentences or bullet points.

Passive phrasing makes copy hard to read

Of the 128 sentences in the 3,348-word long page, 60 used passive voice. That’s 46.88% of the time. By changing these instances to active voice the UK government will increase clarity and strength.

Engaging the population

Readers take in 20 – 28% of the words on a website, according to research by the Nielsen Norman Group. When we factor in complex language, we can assume that this percentage shrinks further.

Any government, business or organization that wants to share a message should do so using plain language. The complexity displayed in this “No Deal” example is a case in point. Even people with many years of education will switch off or churn to another page, as they struggle to understand the content.

To engage with the general population, governments must communicate clearly. We see plain language initiatives in the Australian, US and Canadian government. Indeed, the UK government has also pursued a plain language initiative.

Unfortunately, the authors of these guidance papers seem to not be aware or perhaps don’t care about making their communications transparent.

Takeaways

  • The outcome of Brexit is critical to the economic health of the UK
  • Unfortunately, readability analysis shows the Department for Exiting the European Union is not making content around a no-deal scenario accessible to 73% of the population.
  • Brexit will affect the entire population. Not just the 27% with a 3rd level education.
  • Government and commercial organizations must review their content for complexity using simple, automated and objective tools like VisibleThread.

 

Get your Readability Score

Interested in how your agency’s content measures up? For a specific agency or bureau index:

 

*The 2011 Census for England and Wales shares the latest education data. It outlines that 27% of the population have a 3rd level or higher education. Our research shows that to read the analyzed “No Deal” guide 15+ years of education are needed. The conclusion is therefore that 73% of the population will find the guide inaccessible.  

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Why Top Tasks & Readability Analysis Matter for the Canadian Government’s Digital Strategy https://www.visiblethread.com/2018/10/why-top-tasks-readability-analysis-matter-for-the-canadian-governments-digital-strategy/ Wed, 10 Oct 2018 09:47:06 +0000 https://www.visiblethread.com/?p=16477 Why Top Tasks & Readability Analysis Matter for the Canadian Government’s Digital Strategy A Readability Analysis of the Canadian Government’s Top Tasks Read on below or access the complete report in PDF format here.  Since 2013, the Canadian Government has adopted an approach to web design that focuses on the top tasks that web visitors ...

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Why Top Tasks & Readability Analysis Matter for the Canadian Government’s Digital Strategy

A Readability Analysis of the Canadian Government’s Top Tasks

Read on below or access the complete report in PDF format here

Canada - Top Task ReportSince 2013, the Canadian Government has adopted an approach to web design that focuses on the top tasks that web visitors need to complete when online. A top tasks strategy means you focus on what really matters (the top tasks), and defocus on what matters less (the tiny tasks). This forces web designers and content creators to look at website design and user experience from the visitor’s perspective.

For governments and major brands, it makes content more findable and simplifies user journeys. From a whole of government digital transformation perspective, there are 3 core benefits to a top tasks strategy:

  1. improves government-citizen engagement
  2. increases citizen/business compliance levels
  3. lowers costs (notably, call center costs)

Here’s how Canada.ca describes the objective:

“People come to our digital channels to accomplish a very wide range of tasks… people come to Canada.ca with a goal in mind and a task that they want to accomplish. If they are able to accomplish their task, their need has been met. If not, we have work to do.” Learn more about the Top Tasks Initiative here.

How do you identify top tasks?

There are two central factors to consider when applying a Top Tasks approach:

  1. How do you identify the top tasks?
  2. How do you ensure that each top task has an easy to understand user journey?

The Canadian Government identified the 100 top tasks by following this process:

  • Collect data from various sources including; online visitor traffic, search logs, internal & external surveys etc.
  • Understand Task Boundaries between core tasks and sub-tasks. For example “Get a passport” involves sub-tasks; “checking eligibility”, “checking passport photo requirements” etc.
  • Validate the task list with users. The government used surveys and direct discussion with users to refine the list.

You can find more detail on this process on the Canadian Government’s website and you can see their full list of 100 top tasks here.

To give a sense, here are the Canadian Government’s current top 5 tasks:

Canada Top Tasks - Weather Forecast
1) Get a local weather forecast 

 

Canada Top Tasks - Visitor Visa
2) Get a visitor visa

 

Canada Top Tasks - Immigrate to Canada
3) Apply to immigrate to Canada

 

Canada Top Tasks - Marine Conditions
4) Get marine conditions

 


5) Get an eTA (electronic Travel Authorisation)

 

How do you ensure that each top task has an easy to understand user journey?

The Canadian Government believes that plain language and good readability is a critical success factor for completing Top Tasks. In fact, the use of plain language is a requirement of the Directive on the Management of Communications. For example, the Canada.ca style guide states:

  • Use active voice over passive voice (section 2.3)
  • Use short sentences and paragraphs (section 2.7)
  • Check the reading level of your content (section 2.9)
  • Avoid jargon, idioms and expressions (section 2.5)

Both the Canadian Government and the Province of Ontario instruct that their content should be at grade level 8 and 7 respectively.

We wanted to find out how the various government agencies are performing against this plain language goal, so we analyzed task content. You can view the full report as a PDF or continue reading below.

Our Scoring Methodology

We chose 6 tasks spread across multiple government agencies. We measured high ranking tasks and ones further down Canada’s list.

Here are the 6 Top Tasks we analyzed:

  1. Get a visitor visa (Canada Border Services Agency & Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada)
  2. Apply to immigrate to Canada (Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada)
  3. Get recalls and safety alerts (Health Canada; Transport Canada; Canadian Food Inspection Agency)
  4. Apply for Employment Insurance (Employment and Social Development Canada)
  5. Get info about diseases (Public Health Agency of Canada)
  6. File a GST/HST return (Canada Revenue Agency)

We included English and French-language content. After running the web pages through our analysis, we benchmarked clarity across these three dimensions:

Long Sentence Density
What proportion of all sentences are too long?

Passive Language Density
Can passive language be replaced with more clear active language?

Readability Score
How simple is the content to read?

Key Findings

Although our research revealed some encouraging results, there are clear areas where the Canadian Government can improve.

View the key findings including table of results and graphs to illustrate results in PDF format here

Summary of results for the English-language pages

Summary of results for the English-language pages

Content across pages is not always easy to understand.

Although there are some positive results indicated by patches of green across the charts, orange and red color-coding shows us where one or two specific scores indicate that users will find the content difficult to digest. For example, the task associated with “Getting information about diseases” across the French-language pages is particularly challenging for users to understand. They are also pitched on average at 9th-grade, which is above the recommended level.

English content achieves recommended readability levels

Canada.ca recommends that you write content at an 8th-grade level or lower. It is good to see that, for the most part, the English-language pages are pitched at an average 8th-grade level.

French-language content is generally harder to read than English content

Using the LIX Readability Formula, French-language content has a larger clarity gap without exception.

The higher the rank of the task, the more time and attention it receives. In theory, higher ranked task content should have better readability scores. This was generally true for five of the tasks we selected. However, the “File a GST HST return” task (ranked the lowest of our example tasks at #37) did not correlate with this theory as it performed better than some of the tasks ranked above it.

Readability levels generally align to Top Tasks rankings

Summary of results for the English-language pages

Passive voice levels in Canada’s content are high

As previously mentioned in this report, the Canada.ca style guide states that content should be written in the active voice because it communicates more clearly than passive voice. The active voice promotes simple, straightforward writing. As such, most scientific journals encourage the use of the active voice over the passive voice.

Unfortunately, the average level found in Canada’s content was 10%, so more than twice the recommended percentage of 4%. Only the citizenship-oriented content (the task “Apply to immigrate to Canada”) came close to meeting recommended levels at 5.5%.

Passive Voice Percentage

Sentences are unnecessarily wordy

Long, convoluted sentences make content harder to read. In general, we should aim for 5% long sentence use or less. Research shows that, in the vast majority of Canada’s content, long sentences are rampant.

In fact, only content related to the “Apply to immigrate to Canada” task (and only across English-language pages) met these recommended levels.

It is worth noting that, once again, Canada’s French-language content performs less favourably in this measure across the board.

Long Sentence Use in Top Tasks Content

Content readability varies greatly between agencies

Writing is a personal expression, even when writing professionally. Every individual has style preferences and in large organizations it can be difficult to merge content and make sure it is consistent. This is why we see a lack of coherence across our sample task pages.

Visualizing the User’s Path Across One Task

We have taken task 8 as an example of how the user’s journey moves across the subtask pages. Across the journey, there are different points at which individual pages are performing well or badly, showing that each page presents its own unique challenges to be tackled.

You can view the full path and all results by downloading the complete report here.

Conclusion

The Canadian Government believes that plain language and good readability are critical success factors for completing Top Tasks, as these are indicators to predict how well people will understand your content.

Our research shows a mixed picture, with some encouraging examples of where readability across task pages is clear, as well as opportunities for improvements. For example, task pages are often failing website users due to complex content, a high percentage of long sentences, or over-use of the passive voice. In some cases, a couple of low scores combine across the categories to give an overall poor score and low readability. This situation creates confused and frustrated users, and must be addressed.

Managing content across multiple agencies and individuals is challenging, and so the right tools must be used to make sure that users are given a consistent web experience. VisibleThread offers an efficient way to assess the readability of your content before it is published, leading to a more seamless and satisfying user experience. By applying VisibleThread’s solutions to each of the pages within Canada’s priority list of Top Tasks, the content within these pages will be consistently clear and coherent.

Get your Readability Score

Interested in how your agency’s content measures up? For a specific agency or bureau index:

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Say “Hasta la vista” to bad content! https://www.visiblethread.com/2018/09/say-hasta-la-vista-bad-content/ https://www.visiblethread.com/2018/09/say-hasta-la-vista-bad-content/#comments Fri, 14 Sep 2018 11:34:17 +0000 https://www.visiblethread.com/?p=16350 Say “Hasta la vista” to bad content! For years now, we’ve been witnessing the content marketing explosion. One of its main effects is that, today, all organizations are now publishers. The explosion is still growing, with the content marketing industry estimated to be worth $412 billion by 2021. However, marketing teams are often ill-equipped to ...

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Say “Hasta la vista” to bad content!

Hasta la vista to bad contentFor years now, we’ve been witnessing the content marketing explosion. One of its main effects is that, today, all organizations are now publishers. The explosion is still growing, with the content marketing industry estimated to be worth $412 billion by 2021.

However, marketing teams are often ill-equipped to be editors. In today’s fast-paced world of internet publishing, quantity is often prioritized over quality. And, as the amount of content on the internet grows, it becomes harder for your material to be found.

Only the very best content rises to the top. For many organizations, the lack of editors and in-house writing staff means that it’s harder to generate that top-tier content. Without proper editorial training, marketing teams fall into the same mistakes over and over again with their content, such as:

  • Overly long sentences
  • High levels of passive voice
  • Complex language
  • Use of jargon

To start with, we need to accept that content is no longer king. Quality is the new king! A study from Beckon showed that while content marketing increased by 300 percent from the previous year, engagement was only up 5 percent. So, focusing on improving the quality of your content is a far more effective use of time.

As Robert Rose, founder of The Content Advisory, put it: “..our job as marketers is not to create more content (…) it’s to create the minimum amount of content with the maximum amount of results.”

And a very easy way to maximize your results is to focus on the readability of your content. The average adult reading level in the US falls between a 7th and 8th grade level. This means if your content is too difficult for a 13-year-old to read it may be too difficult for some of your audience. And if your content is too difficult then you’re not going to engage as many customers as you should.

Tools like VisibleThread help you identify and fix these issues, resulting in cleaner and more comprehensive content. For under resourced marketing teams or those needing some editorial assistance, it’s a valuable tool for gauging content quality. It also prioritizes the necessary edits required to improve the content.

We have also just added support for non-English content. French & Spanish content creators can now also get scorecards and advice!

This feature applies to any content type, be it text snippet, URL or document. It also is available to users of our corporate Readability Server.

Score Your Content for Clarity!

To test your writing with VisibleThread Readability, use it for FREE here:

 

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How to decide what is a good readability score? https://www.visiblethread.com/2018/08/how-to-decide-what-is-a-good-readability-score/ Tue, 28 Aug 2018 10:59:13 +0000 https://www.visiblethread.com/?p=16282 How to decide what is a good readability score? When you first launch a plain language program and start scoring for readability, one of the first questions you’ll hear is; “what’s a good readability score?”. It’s a great question, and like many simple questions, it can be hard to provide a good answer. Here’s a ...

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How to decide what is a good readability score?

Readability Score dWhen you first launch a plain language program and start scoring for readability, one of the first questions you’ll hear is; “what’s a good readability score?”.

It’s a great question, and like many simple questions, it can be hard to provide a good answer. Here’s a practical way to approach it.

Just set a readability target by using well-known novels as a benchmark. And use those scores as your guideline. For example, use the readability score for Harry Potter, or Issac Asimov as a reference point.

Why it works so well

Everyone can relate to well-known novels. So it’s much easier to say “well, we’re writing for kids, therefore try to have a readability score close to Harry Potter.” Or if you’re writing content with a more technical subject matter, you might compare with Issac Asimov. And just say, “Just try to write as well as Issac Asimov.” This is a far better approach than offering a subjective opinion like; “I don’t think your writing is that clear.”

Turns out in fact, that when we scored these 3 novels:

  • Harry Potter – The Philosophers Stone (JK Rowling),
  • The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy (Douglas Adams) and
  • The Best of Issac Asimov (Issac Asimov)

using VT Readability, they have very similar readability scores. Instinctively, you might expect Issac Asimov to be less readable than Harry Potter.

Here’s how they score:

 

Readability Score c

As you see:

  • Flesch Readability (one of the oldest and most reliable readability formulas) ranges from 72 to 78.
  • Grade Level (based on US school grade) ranges from 5.3 to 5.9.
  • LIX (difficulty measure used to score both English and non-English texts) ranges from 28 to 30.

Simplicity and clarity are what these three novels have in common. Regardless of the audience they target. These scores should convince those in your organization to aim for low-grade levels in their own writing.

Great, so how do I get started?

  1. Source some novels that you feel represent good writing. Check out: https://archive.org/, it’s an excellent place to locate these.
  2. Next sign into VT Readability, and upload the novels.
  3. Finally set your thresholds in the Settings area of VT Readability.

Takeaways

  • It can be tricky to say ‘what is a good readability score’.
  • Reference well-known novels as a way to guide what is good. Use books that your colleagues creating content will know of.
  • Set thresholds in VT Readability accordingly.

 

Score Your Content for Clarity!

To test your writing with VisibleThread Readability, use it for FREE here:

 

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How to extract FAR clauses from RFPs in under 3 minutes https://www.visiblethread.com/2018/08/how-to-automatically-extract-far-clauses-from-rfps-in-under-3-minutes/ Mon, 20 Aug 2018 11:10:02 +0000 http://www.visiblethread.com/?p=9900 How to extract FAR clauses from RFPs in under 3 minutes If you’re a contracts or proposal manager working US federal programs, you’ll know the importance of the FAR (Federal Acquisition Regulations) and DFAR (Defense Federal Acquisition Regulations). And contractors working army contracts also review AFARS (Army Federal Acquisition Regulation Supplement). You need to carefully review certain ...

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How to extract FAR clauses from RFPs in under 3 minutes

FAR Requirements If you’re a contracts or proposal manager working US federal programs, you’ll know the importance of the FAR (Federal Acquisition Regulations) and DFAR (Defense Federal Acquisition Regulations). And contractors working army contracts also review AFARS (Army Federal Acquisition Regulation Supplement).

You need to carefully review certain FAR / DFAR clauses for compliance, especially those concerning OCI (Organizational Conflict of Interest), Security and Intellectual Property.

Prime contractors also need to manage any flow down clauses that apply to their sub-contractors. And sub-contractors need to clearly understand what flow-down clauses apply. Contract managers manually comb through and review the FAR clauses. While many FAR clauses are benign, a good number need careful review. All told, a very time consuming, but critical process.

NOTE: For the rest of this post, we’ll just refer to FARs, but the same concepts apply for DFAR and AFARS reviews. We’ll also just refer to Contract Managers, but Proposal Managers and Proposal Coordinators also review FARs.

To do this, contract managers will create a type of FAR requirements matrix, often using a spreadsheet. This allows you track compliance with the FAR mandates. The FAR requirements matrix is a critical tool. It often dovetails into a responsibility matrix, sometimes called a RACI matrix.

Contract managers can spend days during the course of larger contracts extracting, updating and maintaining the FAR requirements matrix by hand.

Can you automate this process? And move from several hours to a few minutes to create the matrix? Turns out you can, and our customers are doing it. Here are some considerations:

    1. How are FAR/DFAR clauses manually identified?
    2. Can these clauses be automatically flagged?
    3. What kind of time savings can you expect?

If you’re a contracts manager, program manager or proposal manager, automation will change how you do things. It drives dramatic efficiency, and helps avoid missing critical FAR clauses that could damage your organization. Read on.

1. How are FAR/DFAR clauses manually identified?

When it comes to checking FAR clauses by hand, you’ll likely follow these steps:

  • Step 1: Open the doc in PDF or MS Word
  • Step 2: Search for the specific FAR clause using standard ‘find’.
  • Step 3: Check if there are any hits using the search box. If you find any, copy and paste the relevant paragraph of text into a spreadsheet.
  • Step 4: Repeat step 2 & 3 until you’ve checked all the FAR clauses.

Many FAR clauses are standard and tend not to change. Or they may simple be benign. These are typically pretty easy to identify as they have a fairly uniform structure in the RFP paperwork.

However, contractors pay particular attention to certain clauses including;

  • Conflict of Interest FAR clauses,
  • IP (Intellectual Property) FAR clauses,
  • Security related FAR clauses,
  • Any flow-downs.

These same considerations apply for DFARs and AFARS too. So in your spreadsheet, you likely have a column titled ‘Must Review’ which serves to communicate any requested changes to these types of clauses. For example, for one of our customers when they see “52.227-14” connected with Rights in Data, they always request Alternative IV.

2. Can these clauses be automatically flagged?

Yes. VisibleThread Docs does this in three simple steps. Let me walk you through them:

  1. Upload your contract document to VT Docs
  2. Use a FAR search dictionary. NOTE: In the context of VT Docs, a search dictionary allows you specify multiple search terms. For example, let’s say you want to find all FAR clauses, you define a search term of “52.*”.

On the left, you can see which contract document has been chosen to be analyzed. You can see 246 FARs and 2 DFARs in total (Catch All) in this document. Already, VT Docs has marked 7 as must review and 2 as less important. You can view a list of all FARs and DFARs in the preview.

3. Export to Excel

When you choose to export it to Excel, you will receive a spreadsheet like this:

FAR Requirement Matrix

The yellow highlighted lines are FAR and DFAR clauses. Each line outlines exactly which requirement you are tackling. Any requirement that you must act on is highlighted in red.

In just three clicks you have created a FAR requirements matrix. You have not only saved but by eliminating the manual tasks, you will have reduce the risk of missing vital requirements.

3. What kind of Time Savings can you expect?

We defined earlier 4 manual steps contract managers take today:

  • Step 1: Open the doc in PDF or MS Word
  • Step 2: Search for the specific FAR clause using standard ‘find’.
  • Step 3: Check if there are any hits using the search box. If you find any, copy and paste the relevant paragraph of text into a spreadsheet.
  • Step 4: Repeat step 2 & 3 until you’ve checked all the FAR clauses.

To quantify time savings, let’s consider 2 scenarios;

1.) checking for 15 OCI (Organization Conflict of Interest) clauses

2.) checking the full set of FAR/DFAR clauses

Time Savings Scenario 1: Checking 15 OCI clauses

So let’s assume you want to extract OCI (Organizational Conflict of Interest) FAR clauses from a 106-page document. You need to search for 15 specific OCI terms; including ‘9.501’, ‘9.502’ etc. Then if you see hits, you need to copy/paste to the FAR matrix. Assume the RFP contains hits for 5 of the 15 terms.

If done manually here’s an estimate of time required =

  • Step 1: Open the doc
  • Step 2: 15 x 30 seconds = 5 minutes (450 secs) . Assumes it takes 30 seconds to enter the term and determine if there are occurrences or not.
  • Step 3: 5 x 2 minutes = 10 minutes. Assumes it takes 2 minutes to identify and copy/paste the various clauses found for each FAR term.

This gives us a total of 17.5 minutes for a single 106-page doc with just 15 terms to check.

With the automated approach, steps 2 and 3 took 1 minute. Recall that we found 5 terms occurring in the doc immediately and at a single click we had the output in a spreadsheet.

So for this scenario, it’s:

17.5 minutes (for manual) vs. 1 minute (for automated).

Time Savings Scenario 2: Checking 672 FAR clauses

Using the same approach as scenario 1 but this time with the full FAR, it’s a lot more time consuming. For our 106 page RFP doc, assume we have 155 hits, and we need to check for 672 FAR clauses.

So, here’s how our calculations play out.

Time taken =

  • Step 1: Open the doc
  • Step 2: 672 x 30 seconds = 336 minutes or 5.6 hours (20,160 secs) . Assumes it takes 30 seconds to enter the term and determine if there are occurrences or not.
  • Step 3 & 4: 155 x 2 minutes = 310 minutes or 5.1 hours. Assumes it takes 2 minutes to identify and copy/paste the various clauses found for each FAR term. NOTE: 155 of the 672 clauses had hits.

This gives us a total of 646 minutes or 10.76 hours for this 106-page doc.

If we use the automated approach then steps 2 and 3 become extremely fast. In our case, in fact, it was 2 minutes. We were able to extract in the output to a spreadsheet in a single click.

So for this 2nd scenario, it’s:
10.76 hours (for manual) vs. 2 minutes (for automated).

The value of reliably extracting the full content is that it dramatically shortcuts the time-consuming copy/paste process to populate the FAR spreadsheet.

Takeaways:

  • Tracking FAR and DFAR clauses and creating matrices is critical but time consuming.
  • You can safely automate the extraction process saving you days of effort per contract.
  • You can reduce the risk of manual/human error and therefore the risk of missing vital requirements.
  • Reducing effort and risk allows you to concentrate on winning the contract.

If you have questions about how VT Docs can work for your contract processes, we’d be delighted to answer these for you on a live demo.


Acknowledgements: I am very grateful to a number of 3rd parties who helped my understanding of the FAR and clarified many of the challenges for contract managers. In particular, big thanks to Maxine Tolbert of SBC Solutions, Carl Gouaux of CWG and associates, Melissa Howell of Government Acquisitions and Bridget Anderson of Deltek. Thanks guys for your insights.

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VisibleThread Docs 3.0: What’s New: Webinar – Slide Deck and Recording https://www.visiblethread.com/2018/05/webinar-visiblethread-docs-3-0-whats-new/ Thu, 17 May 2018 17:00:14 +0000 https://www.visiblethread.com/?p=15645 VisibleThread Docs 3.0: What’s New– Webinar: Slide Deck & Recording  This webinar is now over. It occurred on Thursday the 17th May. Here are the slides and recording. And here is the original webinar description   Thanks to some great customer feedback, our latest VT Docs 3.0 release has many extensions that we think you’ll ...

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VisibleThread Docs 3.0: What’s New– Webinar: Slide Deck & Recording

 This webinar is now over. It occurred on Thursday the 17th May.

Here are the slides and recording.


Recording

 
What’s new in VT Docs 3.0

And here is the original webinar description


 

Thanks to some great customer feedback, our latest VT Docs 3.0 release has many extensions that we think you’ll love.

Here are some of the head-line new capabilities:

  • Revamped UI and Navigation System
  • Support for sub-folders
  • Excel Compare
  • Bulk import/export from Readability Whitelist

The release also includes many performance improvements, tweaks and bug fixes to existing features.

Please join me for this 30 minute webinar on Thursday May 17th at 11:45 ET for a full overview of what’s new.

Register below to hear the full details,

Fergal

CEO | VisibleThread

 


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VisibleThread and ClearMark Awards recognizes plain language superstars https://www.visiblethread.com/2018/05/visiblethread-clearmark-awards-recognizes-plain-language-superstars/ Tue, 15 May 2018 13:52:38 +0000 https://www.visiblethread.com/?p=15933 VisibleThread and ClearMark Awards recognizes plain language superstars   The Center for Plain Language hosted the annual ClearMark Awards this month. These awards promote the use of clear language in North American organizations. It judges entrants in various categories based on their use of clean, plain language. VisibleThread sponsored the event and we’re pleased to ...

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VisibleThread and ClearMark Awards recognizes plain language superstars

 

The Center for Plain Language hosted the annual ClearMark Awards this month.

These awards promote the use of clear language in North American organizations. It judges entrants in various categories based on their use of clean, plain language.

VisibleThread sponsored the event and we’re pleased to associate with companies that are at the forefront of the plain language movement.

Participants are looking at ways to make their communications more consistent and accessible. They understand that this will improve how they engage with clients and citizens.

Some of the notable participants included:

JP Morgan Chase won ‘Best Before and After: Print’ category for their ‘Estates vehicle transfer letter’. “This is a good example of plain writing addressing a delicate situation. [This is] much improved from the prior version,” the judges said.

Anthem, Inc. won ‘Best Forms, Applications and Statements’ for ‘Transforming the Anthem Explanation of Benefits’. The judges said this entry shows how investing in plain language allows an organization to reach and educate users.

United Healthcare Won ‘Best Brochures up to 10 Pages’ for their ‘Getting Started Guide’. “This fine piece is a stellar example that achieves the delicate balance of communicating clearly through language and graphic design,” commented the judges.

Quicken Loans was a finalist for ‘Best Digital: Websites’ for its ‘QuickenLoans.com Home Buyer’s and Refinance Guides’. Quicken Loans’ content strategy is focusing heavily on simplicity in business communications. The company has passed Wells Fargo as the Number 1 mortgage lender, showing that simpler communication increases business.

 

Automate plain language standards

To support the CPL mission VisibleThread are providing open access to the VT Readability/ Email service to all CPL members.

For the first time, all content contributors, bloggers and executives have instant access to best practice readability guidelines.

Staff can submit MS Word and PDFs for scoring and readability analysis right from within their inbox. Staff just attach a document to a mail and send it to the server. Users don’t have to sign into any environment and results are delivered back within seconds. This is a zero friction way for organizations to improve the standard of communications delivered by their disparate teams.

Congratulations to all winners, finalists and entrants. Seeing the number of organizations entering the awards, shows a move towards plain language use. There’s clearly a growing awareness of the benefits that plain language can bring to business.

See the full list of winners here (https://lnkd.in/daVJVa7)

* The Email Server can run in cloud or on-premise for organizations. The open access is available cloud only for periods of 3 months to support plain language compliance and improvement programs. Some conditions apply. For more information contact john.nolan@visiblethread.com.

 

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The Facebook User Agreement as seen by the Algorithms https://www.visiblethread.com/2018/04/the-facebook-user-agreement-as-seen-by-the-algorithms/ Wed, 11 Apr 2018 11:25:46 +0000 https://www.visiblethread.com/?p=15620 The Facebook User Agreement as seen by the Algorithms   Yesterday Senator Kennedy from Louisiana slammed Facebook saying, “Your user agreement sucks!” We analyzed it with our language compliance tool and collected some data for the software and legal experts out there. Not a big surprise, it does suck! See below, it has lots of ...

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The Facebook User Agreement as seen by the Algorithms

 

Yesterday Senator Kennedy from Louisiana slammed Facebook saying, “Your user agreement sucks!”

We analyzed it with our language compliance tool and collected some data for the software and legal experts out there. Not a big surprise, it does suck!

See below, it has lots of long sentences and passive voice and a readability score of US Grade Level 13. This suggests only someone with a college degree will understand it. More alarmingly, some of the content scores at US Grade Level 17, which means you will need to have a PhD. to get what it says!

Zuckerberg certainly looked like a geek in a suit with well-rehearsed answers, but the consensus is that he performed well. I thought it would be fun to analyze and compare the user agreement from Facebook with those of Twitter and Linkedin.

The results are fascinating. They all suck but Facebook is not the worst!

If you would like help to improve the readability of your content, or check the readability of your software user agreements login here:

https://readability.visiblethread.com/

 

Score Your Content for Clarity!

To test your writing with VisibleThread Readability, use it for FREE here:

 

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VisibleThread Users Conference | March 2018 https://www.visiblethread.com/2018/04/visiblethread-users-conference-2018/ Fri, 06 Apr 2018 07:00:15 +0000 https://www.visiblethread.com/?p=15233 VisibleThread Users Conference – 2018 Optimize your investment in VisibleThread – Drive better efficiency & Compliance – Customer Best Practice – New Product Releases; VT Docs 3.0 – VT Communications Suite & VT Readability – and more We had a really great users’ conference this year in Reston, Virginia. Here are the recordings and slide ...

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VisibleThread Users Conference – 2018

Optimize your investment in VisibleThread – Drive better efficiency & Compliance – Customer Best Practice – New Product Releases; VT Docs 3.0 – VT Communications Suite & VT Readability – and more

We had a really great users’ conference this year in Reston, Virginia. Here are the recordings and slide decks from the main sessions.

Users Conference 2018 Ticket

Session 1

Slide Deck

 

Session 2

Recording

 

Geoff d’Alelio | VMware
How VMware is using VisibleThread to Increase Quality & Drive Efficiency

Session 3

Recording

 

Cheryl Warner & Jessica Mansilla | BVTI
VisibleThread | Small Business Success Story

Session 4

Slide Deck

Session 5

Recording

 
Kyle Peterson Cobham
Contract Review Challenges Before & After VT Docs

Here is the original event description:

Please join us for the 2018 VisibleThread users conference.

This year we’re back with a full day of bigger and better insights – usage and technical tracks.

You can hear real world stories of how customers like VMware, General Dynamics and others use VisibleThread solutions to win more & make communications less risky and clearer.

 

Where & When?

This year’s conference will be held on Wed. 28th March in Reston, Virginia. Doors will open at 7:45, light breakfast will be served and a buffet lunch.

The Conference sessions will start at 8:30 with customer and product tracks. We will finish at 3:30pm.

Why attend?

This is an ideal opportunity to:

  • Hear how our customers drive efficiency and higher win rates with VisibleThread
  • Network and talk to fellow government / commercial contractors and communications professionals
  • Learn all you need to know about our latest product releases, including VisibleThread Docs version 3.0, our new VisibleThread Communications Suite, and VisibleThread Readability and eMail service.
  • Meet VisibleThread executives and technical support staff.
  • Detailed deep dive product sessions.
  • Learn about our plans for 2018. Have a chance to influence how we extend the products.

For those who are APMP members, you will receive 5 CEUs by attending.

We really look forward to seeing you & a big thanks for being part of the VisibleThread community.

 

Fergal McGovern – CEO | VisibleThread

 


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Words Matter – Driving better Citizen Engagement in Irish Government | March 2018 https://www.visiblethread.com/2018/03/words-matter-driving-better-citizen-engagement-in-irish-government/ Wed, 07 Mar 2018 15:00:20 +0000 https://www.visiblethread.com/?p=15201 Words Matter – Driving better Citizen Engagement in Irish Government Slide Decks This event is now over. It occurred on Wednesday the 7th March. Here are the slide decks. Session 1: Effective Content for Better Government Engagement Shane Diffily, Consultant, Author and Content Strategist Download: Effective Content for better Government Engagement Session 2: The Irish Revenue ...

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Words Matter – Driving better Citizen Engagement in Irish Government

Slide Decks
This event is now over. It occurred on Wednesday the 7th March.

Here are the slide decks.


Session 1: Effective Content for Better Government Engagement

Shane Diffily, Consultant, Author and Content Strategist

Session 2: The Irish Revenue website – Counting on words

Ciaran Pringle, Irish Revenue


WATCH THE VIDEO

 

Session 3: How the Australian Government is driving better citizen user experience with more Readable Content

John Nolan, VisibleThread


And here is the original event description:

Dublin Conference 2018 Ticket

Please join us for this half day conference focused exclusively on Irish Government digital and communications teams.

We will have sessions covering:

  • Effective Content Strategy for better Gov. Engagement – A Case Study from the Irish Naturalisation and Immigration Service (INIS)
  • The Irish Revenue website – counting on words. Strategies for better engagement
  • How the Australian Government is driving better citizen user experience with more Readable Content

Our Keynote speaker will be noted author, speaker on content strategy and consultant Shane Diffily. Shane is author of “The Website Manager’s Handbook”.

DOWNLOAD THE FULL AGENDA HERE

 

Why attend?

This is an ideal opportunity to:

  • Hear how your colleagues in Irish government departments are creating high quality digital experiences
  • Understand how you can lower the cost to government with clear and findable content
  • See how to lower call center costs, by putting more accessible content online
  • Network and talk to fellow government marketing & communications professionals

 


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