The last time I laughed at something in the Financial Times was . . . well, it probably goes back to those giddy days before the global financial crisis smackdown.
But that was my reaction to Lucy Kellaway’s brilliant “Business Life” column last week, in which she cited Apple as a brand that understands language can be “beautiful and easy to use. Words can be fun to read. They can look elegant. They can make you laugh.”
Case in point — the set of guidelines for apps sold at its App Store. Instead of endless pages of legalese in two-point type, Apple’s language is, as Kellaway put it, “funny, clear” and something anyone can read “effortlessly.”
There’s a lesson here.
An excerpt: “We have over 250,000 apps in the App Store. We don’t need any more Fart apps. If your app doesn’t do something useful or provide some form of lasting entertainment, it may not be accepted.”
Pretty clear and simple, no? It also lays down the law with a direct and deft touch:
“We will reject apps for any content or behaviour that we believe is over the line. What line, you ask? Well, as a Supreme Court justice once said, ‘I’ll know it when I see it.’ And we think that you will also know it when you cross it.”
Loyal readers of Mind the Gap will recall I love the elegant, clever use of words — that’s why this Apple example touched me to the core.
So, with that in mind — what to think of this:
I understand the Scottish Parliament’s website was rewritten last year in Scots dialect. It’s part of a major revamping to make the site accessible in 14 “languages.”
“Walcome tae the Scottish Pairlament wabsite,” reads the home page. “The Scottish Pairlament is here for tae represent aw Scotland’s folk.”
Aye. The jury’s out on elegant and clever, but I like its tone.
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