September 1, 2011

Introducing Definitions in the Text and Using Sculpting of Text

I wanted to show you this bit from a Newsweek article as a good example of how you can blend definitions into the text. But now, I can’t resist suggesting that it would be improved by some sculpting of the information. The second sentence is 45 words and the length contributes to making it a tough read. Sculpting reduces the cognitive load of the number of words.

What do you think?

“At least five large, randomized controlled studies have analyzed treatments for stable heart patients who have nothing worse than mild chest pain.

The studies compared invasive procedures including angioplasty, in which a surgeon mechanically widens a blocked blood vessel by crushing the fatty deposits called plaques; stenting, or propping open a vessel with wire mesh; and bypass surgery, grafting a new blood vessel onto a blocked one.”

Here is the second sentence after a rework.

The studies compared invasive procedures, including:

  • angioplasty
  • in which a surgeon mechanically widens a blocked blood vessel by crushing the fatty deposits called plaques

  • stenting
  • propping open a vessel with wire mesh

  • bypass surgery
  • grafting a new blood vessel onto a blocked one.

 

November 2, 2008

An example of a simple list

I just came across this sentence on a website for a service center for people who cannot afford a lawyer. The problems with it are (at least):
1. the sentence is left-handed (three items consented to)
2. the sentence is too long
3. the sentence cries out for a list.

Consent to share information
I consent to the information on this form, the type of issue I have, and the record of services I receive at the center being shared as needed among those who work for the Self-help Center.

Rewritten:

I consent to having my personal information shared among those who work for the Self-help Center. Information means:

the information on this form,
the type of issue I have, and
the record of services I receive at the center.

That is just a quick effort at the job.