‘’Wall Street loves to use confusing terms to make you think only they can do what they do. Or even better, for you to just leave them alone.’’ – The Big Short – Jared Vennett (Ryan Gosling)
Just like the financial world, the planning industry uses many words and acronyms which are rarely used outside of our little bubble. Whether it’s an attenuation basin, a Development Consent Order or Environmental Impact Assessment, the average resident we communicate with often struggles to properly understand this jargon.
The language we use in engagement activity is incredibly important, and we use a lot of different methods to improve the level of comprehension for users. Ultimately, if people don’t understand the language you use, then they’re not going to understand the proposals. This will encourage them to look to others for understanding, who may be misinformed or coming from a negative perspective.
However, sometimes we are faced with unavoidable jargon, words and phrases that can’t be replaced or simplified. To mitigate this, we developed a tool embedded throughout our consultation applications:
This Glossary is publicly accessible for anyone to view and contribute to. If you think you have a particularly excellent jargon word, add it to our Glossary here.
This feature highlights words or phrases we think may be difficult to understand and when a reader hovers their cursor over the word, a plain-spoken definition is provided. The value of providing these definitions is to improve the comprehension of the proposals further.
This tool, and many others we use, allows us to reach out to groups traditionally excluded from the planning system. These include those for whom English is not their first language or those with atypical learning needs such as dyslexia. This means the feedback to our consultations is more likely to represent the whole community, not just the same old groups.
Breaking down barriers to language allows the community to clearly understand the proposals, enabling them to focus far greater energy on providing meaningful feedback.
If you want to know more about the Jargon Glossary, or other methods we use, please get in touch.