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The Consistency of Inconsistency

Thursday 16 October 2014

Sometimes it boggles the mind what people can submit as finished work.

Reddit, a global content aggregation website, has a section for everything. One of the sections, the aptly named ‘CrappyDesign’, showcases thousands of examples of work, logos and advertising slogans that either have not been proof-read, or read by people with no knowledge of language or design. From hospital logos with what looks like a family hanging to a pink banner bearing “You are not alone”, with the ‘not’ in the same shade of pink, the consistency of inconsistency is astounding.

Is it a case of people not thinking or something more deep rooted in modern-day business?
People are so willing to make a product or advert flashy and visually appealing they often seem to forget what the original message was supposed to be. Functionality and detail is substituted for an interesting font or wonky-word alignments. Grammar is ignored in favour of capitalising every verb or noun something to do with IT. Full stops and commas seem to becoming extinct. Pepsi seem to be one of the main culprits – a billboard proclaiming “Packed With Taste Less Sugar”, the product of hundreds of advertising executives, none of which thinking a comma after the word ‘Taste’ would be a good idea.

Apple are a fine example of style over usability. Since the release of the iPhone 3G the volume up/down icon obscures the screen when changed during a video. The power keys on some Macs are placed next to the delete key – a nightmare for any software developer. The new ‘Shift’ on the iPhone looks like it is off when it is on, and vice versa. Once again, thought, usability and quality control goes out of the window, in favour of flashy images and pointless features.

Functionality and consistency is key, rather than flashy design and pointless releases of software slightly different to the previous update. It isn’t hard to get someone to proof-read work and ensure there are no typos and the grammar is consistent. When corporations as large as Pepsi and Apple can’t find the line between, it makes you wander where all the money goes.

At Connexica we keep it simple. As the content editor, it is my own personal mission to reclaim grammar from the butchering of IT professionals, prevent the constant capitalisation of nouns and verbs, break up sentences that run for lines and lines and make sure the t’s are crossed and I’s dotted. Moreover, we ensure the design of our documentation and product remains consistent, usable and sends the message we want to send, rather than the style over substance that dominates modern software and analytics. With more content being produced by the hour it is more and more difficult to police – emphasising the need for that human filter to keep everything in check.
With keen editing and multiple proof-reading sessions, there should be no excuse for any self-respecting business to let such huge issues fall through the cracks. Connexica remains an example of consistent inconsistencies, but with hard work and multiple edits, we hope to set the standard. Now it’s up to Pepsi and Apple to follow our lead…

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