Week 26: findings, oh shit banners, reading age and the power of TV

Toby Jones plays Alan Bates in ITV documentary on the Post Office ScandalToby Jones plays Alan Bates in ITV documentary on the Post Office Scandal

What I worked on and thought about

Bit of a slow start to 2024. But, we’ve finally got a list of findings from our research into best interests decision-making. We found these blogs from Will Myddleton helpful:

  1. Acknowledging discovery is messy
  2. How to finish off a discovery

I read an interesting blog post this week about Oh shit banners. It’s a great piece, I particularly liked this take:

There’s news, and then there’s news. Sometimes something momentous happens. This necessitates a hierarchy of attention that goes beyond the regular flow of information.

I found it interesting as I’ve talked before about how we added friction to our online advance decision service. Our design hypothesis was that by adding an interruption screen’ we can better inform users when their decisions about refusing medical treatment will apply. This addressed some concerns in user research that people weren’t quite understanding the implications of a refusal of treatment and when it would apply.

As we start to think of writing some new content, I was reminded of a few interesting pieces about reading age. Did you know for US presidential hopefuls, simpler language resonates? We make fun of Trump, but he speaks to voters at fourth-grade level and you know what, it obviously works. It’s not unique to the US, here in the UK The Sun was found to be the easiest to read (with a readability score similar CBBCs Newsround), while The Guardian was scored as the least readable.

Lots of things to mull, but the study authors say:

…the failure of many citizens to engage with political news or with environmental problems like climate change may, in part, reflect the fact that these news topics tend to be written in less readable language than most others. Indeed, the failure of many citizens (notably those in countries like the US and the UK) to understand what climate change is or the scale of the scientific consensus and alarm about it may not simply be a product of efforts to make it appear controversial.”

Lots of coverage this week about the Post Office Scandal. I’m still getting my head around this one. But I find it amazing how long it’s been known about, and how crazy it is that a TV drama can be a catalyst for change. Assisted dying is frequently featured in film, TV and culture. But the law hasn’t changed in this instance, why? Maybe there is something more to it than just chalking it down to life imitating art? Or is it the other way around…

What I watched

I’ve never really tracked what I watched on TV or in the cinema before, but it could be fun so I’ll try in 2024. In January so far…

  1. Boy and the Heron (Curzon Soho) - loved it, wacky Ghibli as ever
  2. Smoke Sauna Sisterhood (Curzon Bloomsbury) - fascinating insight into Estonian Sauna culture
  3. Poor Things (Curzon Soho) - bonkers, but marvellous
  4. The Zone of Interest (Curzon Soho) - chilling insight into humanity and what we’re capable of (and how easy it is)