Headlines: January 23rd, 2009

Getting it right first time is important to all organizations because follow up calls are annoying to customers and costly to the service providers. Failure to get it right has become a significant feature of the efficiency agenda and local councils have been given a target to reduce avoidable contacts. Help is now at hand to reduce avoidable contacts for website users where English is their second language.

The website is an important area for reducing avoidable contacts and the Society of IT Management provide a service that allows councils to measure how well they are doing at ‘getting it right first time’. Measuring failure is the first step, but remedial action must follow. Site visitors with a limited command of English present a particular difficulty. To help reduce avoidable contact caused by limited English, Widgit, a software and service provider, has introduced a facility to provide visual prompts to help with understanding the text.

The system presents a symbol when a website user points the mouse at a difficult or easily misunderstood word. Whilst a fluent English speaker can readily work out what the word ‘bank’ means by looking at the context, others can be confused. Pointing at ‘bank’ will bring up two symbols one relating to finance and another for a river bank.

Widgit Symbols are used across the world. They are clear, concise and suitable for all ages and they have been carefully designed to illustrate a single concept without adding unnecessary information. There are more than 7,000 images covering a vocabulary in excess of 40,000 words. This vocabulary is continually being extended and gives councils access to a wide range of topics.

Symbol links are added to the text by an editor programme which highlights all words that are included in the database and displays the symbol available.

The symbol facility is available from Widgit. http://www.widgit.com