2Know Magazine: Sharing KM Knowledge
2Know: Sharing KM Knowledge
April 2018 - Magazine No. 223
April 2018 - Magazine No. 223

Linguistic simplification refers to text adaptation for cognitively challenged people or those that possess basic cognitive abilities. This process involves writing texts in a simply comprehensible manner.

 Its principles include: focused data, plain (and correct) everyday language, consistent use of terms and tenses (plural/singular, past/present, etc.), explicit message leaving no room for interpretation, etc.

A few days ago, it was reported that the disability pension will rise; the rise will be retroactively granted from January. I immediately remembered a course on content editing & functional writing I instructed at a large organization. The meaning of the word "retroactively" was discussed among other terms, and several answers were given. Some interpreted the term as referring to past activities ("retro") while others understood it to be a future action. This organization handles great sums of money. Another noteworthy "fun fact": each interpreter was positive they were correct.


What does this have to do with linguistic simplification, a term from the field of accessibility?

 Evidently, linguistic simplification is required when writing in an organization. A great portion of organizational activity is based on texts and is aimed at large, diverse groups of workers that probably all possess high cognitive skills: work procedures, policies, customer service, etc.

The aforementioned simplification principles must be applied in organizational settings as well.

What does this require?

A bit more time and a little more thought invested before and during the writing process.

What can we gain from linguistic simplification?

  • We ensure our workers understand the text and can operate correctly
  • Texts will be helpful utilities rather than confusing nuisances
  • Less mistakes
  • Decrease in time invested in each task

Writing simple rather than simply writing is a task far from simple, but it is simply essential.





How can we find the inner motivation to perform irritating activities related to Knowledge Management?

Every position, task, project or process we wish to promote in the organization bears at least one aspect that we would rather refrain from performing. Procedures are a good example for this phenomenon. We at ROM instruct our clients how to construct procedures so that they are written simply and concisely. We, for example, emphasize the planning of the procedure, using simple phrasing, elements that can be incorporated to improve first use as well as future uses. However, procedures (like any other subject) are simply not the hottest topic when considering popular work tasks for workers to handle/formulate.

Procedures fail for a variety of reasons: they are usually outdated, too long, difficult to navigate through, the flow between knowledge segments is unclear, they are not phrased practically, too general, etc. Yet the main reason that procedures, alike other issues that suffer from inattention and insufficient treatment, fail is a lack of motivation/time/planning (choose one or all options) to perform these critical yet mundane tasks.

The question then resurfaces: how can we overcome motivational obstacles and promote these issues?

In The Upside of Irrationality Professor Dan Ariely discusses our tendency to procrastinate by relaying his personal story, in which he describes his burn injuries from a magnesium explosion. A large magnesium flame combusted near him and more than 70% of his body suffered third-rate burns. He was also jaundiced due to an infected blood transfusion; though it subsided, it occasionally resurfaced and required treatment. This treatment included 3 weekly self-induced injections which made him nauseous. This led to a constant struggle against the deeply rooted will to avoid this pain and discomfort despite intellectually understanding the necessity of these injections. He battled his motivation:

  1. He reminded himself that this is "immediate negative effect" induced to attain "long term effects", a psychological problem we all experience when we can't bring ourselves to perform short-term tasks that may be highly beneficial later. He thus repeated this "mantra": the injections are an insufferable task in the short run but will prove highly essential for the success of this treatment in the long run.
  2. He found the motivation to counter the pains that followed each injection: movies. When the doctors warned him of the side effects that might appear after treatment, he decided to boost his motivation by binge watching movies during these painful hours. The movies indeed helped him divert his attention and focus on something besides his pain and sorrow.

Returning to procedures, the example I chose to discuss, I can indeed assure you that while this task is exhausting and dull its effect will manifest through better, clearer and more synchronized work processes.

What is my "movie"? I love reading and telling stories. I transform each procedure into a story, complete with a navigation map (sometimes a graphic one!) that is easy on the eye and simplifies users' understanding.

What about you?

Remind yourself the importance of the task you must perform and explain to yourself how this will benefit you in the long run.

Find your "movies". For each problem you lack motivation to perform, predefine the elements that can assist you in accomplishing this task with a smile on your face.

Picture a location you've personally visited that was so stunningly captivating you felt a strong urge to share the experience with a friend or relative. What would you do? the simple route involves whipping out your Smartphone and film a short video or video-char with said friend/relative. But does this solution fully transmit the entire sensory experience? What about the breeze or natural sounds?

While virtual settings enable us to offer much information, it cannot transmit a realistic experience since the sensory aspect isn't fully incorporated into this experience. This gap must be narrowed; the process has already begun. User experience can be upgraded to include senses other than vision and smell.

The field of gaming consoles has seen the development of a more realistic gaming experience in terms of the sense of touch. Nintendo WII consoles, for example, successfully transmit the vibration a golf player feels when putting; this experience simulates physical reality and allows players to sense the game via various aspects.  The idea is to figure out how technology can serve publishers as well as users.

Recent years have seen an improvement in virtual visual showcasing for the most important element in sales sites: the product. RotaryView has developed a product targeted at business owners trying to attract potential buyers by emphasizing their websites' most important element: the products sold. Unlike a physical shop, in which users can both see and fell a product from all angles, internet websites usually offer a two-dimensional experience that might prevent potential purchases. RotaryView offers business owners a 360 degrees website product presentation thus providing potential purchasers a perfect user experience.

Furthermore, some organizations have performed a quantum leap in terms of sensory user experience, enabling users to smell products prior to their purchase or receive internet ads for a product with its original smell attached. This is performed via the oPhone, a small box that connects to Smartphones or computer screens that can transmit various virtual smells. This device codes smells similarly to how cameras code colors or voice cards code voices. The device "captures" then channels the smells' code via the internet. When presented to its receiver it is translated to a smell simulating the original scent (similarly to presenting a photographed picture on a computer screen).

 The future is here; innovation is in the air!

In conclusion, we are a touch away from a substantial improvement in virtual user experience by incorporating more senses into this field. This is certainly appropriate time to consider the relevance of these developments to our businesses, websites and how we choose to present products/services we offer our clients.

Virtual sensory technology will reach a new level in the near future, nearer than we might think.









Written by Rom Knowledgeware
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