From the online editorial team: Accessible and clear language at Job Market Finland
Why did we want to make the language of Job Market Finland accessible?
Accessibility has become one of the most important areas in the development of online services. It is especially important for users who face various challenges with the use of digital services and devices. Such users include, for example, individuals with challenges in learning, perceiving, remembering, directing their own activities, language skills, or literacy. There can be a variety of causes, such as visual and hearing impairments, physical and motor impairments, developmental disabilities, reading, learning and concentration difficulties, mental health problems, memory disorders, or poor Finnish language skills.
The use of digital services is estimated to be difficult for more than a million Finns. It is very important for this group that our online service is easy to use and comprehensible. However, accessibility is good for every user of the service. People may also have temporary challenges, such as fatigue, stress, a noisy environment, bright sunshine, or a hand in plaster, that pose challenges when using online services.
We at Job Market Finland have wanted to take accessibility into account in the language we use. We have redesigned the language of our online service to make it as clear and understandable as possible for all our users.
Producing accessible content is not as easy as one might imagine. However, we in the online editorial team have done our best as we have reproduced the contents of the te-palvelut.fi online service to Job Market Finland.
What have we done in practice?
As we have been reforming the language of Job Market Finland, we have kept a few principles in mind.
We have abandoned linguistically complex structures such as sentence equivalents. We avoid the use of dashes and passive forms of verbs. Instead of saying “something is done”, for example, we want to say “who is doing” whenever possible. It is especially important to point out the actor in the texts dealing with official matters, so that, for example, an applicant for unemployment benefits knows whether something is the responsibility of them, the TE Office, the municipality participating in the local government pilot, or the payer of unemployment benefits.
We have replaced the figures of speech previously used at Job Market Finland with clearer word choices. In addition to this, we have clarified sentence and paragraph structures and parsed texts with subheadings. We also do not use abbreviations or learned borrowings. In connection with the most difficult terms, we have added explanations that the user can open separately.
How is the work progressing?
In the future, we intend to make all the language at Job Market Finland accessible. We also want to produce our future communications on current events in accessible and clear language.
We do our best to ensure accessibility. However, we hope to receive feedback on the language we use, as you, the users of Job Market Finland, are best able to evaluate the result of our work.