Flickr’s Relevant Photo Group Collections

Flickr has several groups that contain interesting images related to accessibility and technical communication. Log on to Flickr and go to the Groups tab to see a list of all groups and search for a group. You'll be sure to find something that is relevant or gives you a good laugh. Some groups we like are

  • Usability & Accessibility – Photos from the UPA.
  • This Is Broken – Photos about the brokenness (bad design) of items, places, etc. … see for more.
  • !Rock That Disability! – This is a group for anyone with a disability, physical, mental or otherwise. (But not just them!) Pictures you want to share.
  • Crutches, Wheelchairs and Canes – The beauty of people who use crutches, wheelchairs, or canes to get around. We welcome pictures of these items being used.
  • Design: Oohs & Aaughs – Photos of both praiseworthy and inadequate design. These are products, objects, and experiences (good or bad), which impact us enough to stop and take notice (and take a photo, too).
  • Public Computer Errors – Computer crashes, errors and other horrors as viewed by those of us innocently traveling along in life.
  • Accessible Travel – Photos of accessibility in tourism hot spots around the world. This includes wheelchair access, Braille signage, sound, markers for the hearing impaired, accessible and inaccessible intersections, public transportation, maps, lodging, restaurants, bathrooms, telephones and communication infrastructure, museum signage, best practices/worst practices, You (!) enjoying a public place with superb accessibility.
  • Wheelchair Accessible Trails – Photos taken on wheelchair accessible or paved hiking trails.
  • Rolling Rains – Travel with a Disability – This group gives travelers with disabilities, their travel companions, friends, and allies of the disability community a place to post about travel. Sometimes we see (or use other senses) differently; sometimes not. To publish your work here you don't need to snap a shot of every curb cut or Braille road sign – aesthetics counts – but somehow weave in insights about accessibility as you tell your story. The combination of photos, firsthand commentary, and the ability to contact the poster provides a unique and ever-changing consumer-level guide for the disability community on to where to go for a good time.
  • Old Wheelchairs, Gurneys, & Outdated Medical Equip – Photographs of outdated/decayed/found Medical Equipment/Devices. The older the better.
  • Writing Machines – Photos of typewriters, printing presses, and movable type—anything to do with the mechanical reproduction or creation of the written word.
  • Writing – Photos about writing and the life of writers. If you are a writer/journalist, you can show fragments of your writing life. Includes photos of handwritten pieces, pens, notebooks, Moleskines, and so on. Photos of people writing and artworks if the theme is "words, writing, writers".
  • Written In Stone – Photos of inscriptions (i.e., words, phrases, names) carved into stone such as on tombs, monuments, and buildings.

If you encounter another group you think we should add, please send us a note with the name of the Flickr group.

Plain Language on the Way for Consumers in South Africa

South African consumers can look forward to plain language in all consumer documents – the South African Consumer Protection Act became law April 24, 2009. The act "makes plain language a basic right and a business obligation." This impressive news is on the site for Plain Language Around the World.

The news article goes on to say that in two months time – on April 24 – "the National Consumer Commission must be established and the regulations will come into operation. Six months later, the rest of the Act will take effect." The article provides additional sources you can read.

The Clear Language @ Work site links to an article about the impact of the Consumer Protection Act on insurance, where I found one sentence that I wanted to share:

Insurers will not be allowed to take advantage of the fact that the consumer is unable to understand the terms of the contract being concluded with it as a result of either physical or mental disability, illiteracy, ignorance or inability to understand the language of the contract.

Reading this as a consumer is bliss. No more intimidating piles of papers to read through – and not understand. Reading this as a technical communicator, it feels like justification for years of that gut feeling that you should always be able to write in the clear language your audience demanded. It puts value back into clear writing. I'll bet South African consumers value this news, too.

We've reported plain language news before, especially concerning United States legislation. It's great to learn about efforts in other countries. To keep up with news about plain language, visit Plain Language Association InterNational and Clear Language @ Work.

While visiting the Clear Language @ Work site, be sure to pick up your complimentary Clear/Plain Language Writing Principles Checklist and Clear Design Chart in the sidebar on the front page.