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HomeGuidelines > 5. Reduce cognitive burdens. . > 5c. Watch out for ambiguous phrases a reader must debate. > Challenges

 

Diagram

Background

Audience Fit

Challenges

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Challenges

Contemplate how these choice ambiguities crept into resumes:

"My intensity and focus are at inordinately high levels, and my ability to complete projects on time is unspeakable."

"Education: Curses in liberal arts, curses in computer science, curses in accounting."

"Instrumental in ruining entire operation for a Midwest chain store."

"Personal: Married, 1999 Chevrolet."

"Strengths: Ability to meet deadlines while maintaining composer."

"Qualifications: No education or experience."

"Disposed of $2.5 million in assets."

Other ways to make your text easier to understand:

5a. Reduce the number of clauses per sentence.

5b. Blow up nominalizations and noun trains.

5c. Watch out for ambiguous phrases a user might have to debate.

5d. Surface the agent and action, so users don't have to guess.

5e. Make a positive statement.

5f. Reduce scrolling.

5g. Let users print or save the entire document at once.

Resources on thoughtlessness

Taking a Position on Thoughtlessness

Heuristic Online Text (H. O. T.) Evaluation of Cognitive Burdens

Poster

 

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