Making sure You won’t read any of it

The Programme rental terms & conditions for the Hertz #1 Club Gold are doing everything possible to make me not want to read them: 72 pages of typical legal copy in one of the worst page layout I have seen lately.

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From Latvia with love

While in Riga to run two workshops at the University of Latvia, I recognized three typical issues about pictorial signs, which are certainly worth a reminder.

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Women only?

Interestingly, the criticized use of the word man to designate a human of either sex as opposed to, specifically, a male one has got a direct, language-independent graphical equivalent, as illustrated by signs at the new Terminal 1 of Barcelona airport.

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Suppress, suppress, suppress

The delightful YouTube video of Microsoft redesigning the iPod package exemplifies the widespread phobia of emptiness—on the part of the communicators, not of the audience.

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Audience first, for crying out loud

“Greetings from Apple! Before I start finding a solution to your problem, I want to…” What?! You want to do something else before taking care of my problem? What kind of a helpdesk are you?

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Quit your browser, then click this link

After several decades of user-friendly software development, I would have thought that software companies would have mastered the simple art of writing clear instructions. Not Microsoft, though—at least not when they explain how to download and install the
“Open XML File Format Converter for Mac 1.0”.

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Please cover my mouth and nose

Perhaps I am too much of a rational mind, but I must confess
I am frequently confused by what I regard as inconsistent uses
of grammatical person and number in pronouns.

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Notices no one wants to notice

Legal copy never ceases to baffle me. What are those lawyers thinking when writing those texts that no one wants to read? Are they actually kidding themselves to the point of believing that they are communicating anything useful to their audience?

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You call this a “presentation”?

While viewing a LinkedIn ad that encourages users to “embed a presentation” on their profiles, I was struck by the conception of a presentation perpetuated by both the words and the illustration.

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Is this a quiz?

In a page layout, prominence suggests relative importance. Periodically, I am reminded of how not to apply prominence, as I try to save an Excel spreadsheet in so-called CSV format (comma-separated values) and I get this ineffective dialog box.

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