Diversity

‘Eg’ or ‘egg’? Ban Latin to help blind people

By Kitty Knowles 25 July 2016
Summary

Say goodbye to 'eg', 'ie' & 'etc'.

Today there’s no excuse for government tools that exclude people.

Your less-than-tech-savvy granny, your dyslexic teenage son, and your bilingual neighbour all need to be able to find their tax codes and renew their passports online.

That’s why – as much as we appreciate the grandeur of Latin – we’re pleased to see phrases like ‘eg’, ‘etc’ and ‘ie’ being phased out.

Better for blind people

The Government is now working to remove these terms to help improve their Gov.Uk service for blind people.

This is necessary because voice recognition programmes used by blind and partially sighted people often don’t understand the phrases, Persis Howe of Government Digital Service writes in a blog post.

For example, ‘eg’, short for ‘exempli gratia’, is often misread as ‘egg’.

This will be swapped out for terms ‘like’, ‘such as’ or ‘including’.

Accessibility for all

The move won’t only help blind people, but should help make the website clearer for all users.

“Terms like eg, ie and etc, while common, make reading difficult for some,” Howe adds.

Anyone who didn’t grow up in the UK may not be familiar with them, and they can be jarring even if English is your first language.

Whitehall officials have got a big task ahead though – the term ‘eg’ appears more than 4,000 times on gov.uk. Best get cracking!