• Tidy Content

21 things that made us think - and a review of 2021



Happy new year!


Welcome to the first Why Words Matter of 2022, the third (and hopefully final) part of the 2020 pandemic series.


With its ups and downs, last year wasn’t great on our side for personal reasons as some of you may know. It’s unfair to make blanket statements, but losing people sucks and dampens everything else that may be good around you.


We’re sure some of you can relate.


Reflecting on the good things, we worked on some exciting projects this last year. We:


  • picked up where we left off (thanks, coronavirus!) on a 3-year storytelling project with the RNLI and Morgans Consult

  • interviewed some of Cardiff’s incredible independent business for two publications of Distinctive Magazine

  • helped Football Association Wales with their Women’s football strategy, Our Wales: For Her


Adrián also supported extreme sports-inspired startup, Getting Dirty with their marketing, while Nia introduced the Information and support team at Marie Curie to content design, continued supporting the content team at Scope, and worked with Content Design London and charity Sense to improve comms for their services.


Phew, what a year!


Though we’re not superstitious, a new year can feel like a new beginning, a blank canvas full of possibility and excitement. A chance to reflect, review and have another go at this weird yet wonderful journey we call life.


As the great Terry Pratchett said, ‘so much universe, and so little time’.


Let’s make it count.


Wishing you the happiest new year, one full of peace, joy and good health.

Nia and Adrián

Tidy Content


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21 things that made us think

1. Newsletters; or, an enormous rant about writing on the web that doesn’t really go anywhere and that’s okay with me

Robin Rendle Does what it says on the tin.


2. How readers help writers improve

Ximena Vengoechea What happens when we choose to create in public. 3. Emojis and accessibility: How to use them properly

Ryan Tan The low-down on emojis and accessibility with practical examples of how to use (and not use) them.


4. 5 things I learned about design writing and research

Vicky Teinaki Great lessons from the SVA Design Writing and Research course that can be applied to all forms or writing. 5. The difference between time and attention

Jason Fried It’s often attention we lack, not time. 6. The Pandemic Ruined Customer Delight and That’s Okay

Ryan Biggie

Has the pandemic has put an end to the oh-so-charming copy that litter our digital experiences? 7. To add is expected, to subtract is design

Kim Bellard Exploring our preference for designing shiny new things and how things would be if we were incentivised to subtract. 8. How we designed Cards for Humanity, an inclusive design tool

Eva Tkautz The story behind a viral game that helps designers think outside their unconscious bias. 9. Inclusive, accessible services: the importance of content design

Co-op Digital How content design helps the team at Co-op Digital make sure services are accessible. 10. Words that make me go hmmm: Vulnerable

Bryony Shannon On the danger of using blanket terms in health and social care and what words we can use instead. 11. How we use keywords and search data to improve our content

Grace Lauren How to use keywords and search data to guide content decisions. 12. Disability and inclusive language

Alex White Why language around disability is always changing and tips on testing the language you use with disabled people. 13. Don't be afraid of the Big Long Page

Amy Hupe and Caroline Jarrett The effects of hiding content in accordions, tabs, carousels, and what happens when we embrace the big long page. 14. Content principles - what they are why you need them

Rob Mills A great guide to creating principles to inform your content. 15. In defence of tone

Lauren Pope On the difference between using tone for clarity and using it to create delight, and why adjusting tone isn’t always ‘common sense’. 16. On writing about money and diaspora

Rosa Vieira de Almeida Dealing with the bureaucracies of money, what happens when we think of remittances as a form of care? 17. On doing and non-doing

Adrian Ortega The art of sailing rather than the art of rowing. 18. 9 Ways to ‘Rewild Your Attention’

Clive Thompson How to inject more weirdness and randomness into the stuff you read and see. 19. Writing Is about the Right Words, not the MOST Words

Lincoln Michel Why are we more comfortable talking about output than art? 20. How to make writing less hard

Oliver Burkeman Three pieces of advice that could make a concrete difference to your productivity as a writer.


21. Techno-optimism for 2022

Noah Smith

Some things to be optimistic about in 2022.