Taking the time to write less

What do you make of this sign, spotted at a GP surgery?

It’s there to help people who struggle with English. But, ironically, many people would struggle to read it. According to readable, it’s got a reading age of 20. As the average UK citizen has a reading age of 9 (let alone a UK citizen who has ‘difficulties communicating in English’), this is an issue.

What makes it tough to read? It’s a single, long sentence. It has several multi-syllable words. It uses words like ‘notify’ and ‘accompany’, that people don’t tend to use in conversation.

But we don’t like to moan about stuff. We like to make stuff more meaningful. So here’s a quick edit that tries to do that. Note, it’s not all about the words – we’ve put in a picture instead of the title. When we asked Twitter for improvements, someone even suggested an emoji version.