A Scots App Tae Ye

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. 

About Jon Higgins

Jon Higgins is responsible for Ketchum’s offices in Asia, Latin America and Middle East & Africa. In these regions, he is responsible for client stewardship, business development, and new ventures, as well as enhancement of the agency’s global reputation for creativity, innovation, and thought leadership. Jon is a member of Ketchum’s Executive Committee. Prior to assuming this role in 2008, Jon was CEO of Ketchum EMEA, covering offices in the U.K., Germany, France, Spain and Italy, as well as an exclusive network of 20 affiliates. In addition, Jon helped lead the creation, global launch and agency integration of the Ketchum Programming Process (KPP), an ambitious undertaking aimed at leveraging the agency's digital strategy, creative resources and unique culture into a consistent approach to client programming. Jon is based in Washington, D.C. He holds a bachelor’s degree from the University of Southern California.

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