About David Sless

David was awarded an MSc by Durham University for his research in communication and information design. In 1976 he became the Foundation Chairman of Standards Australiaʼs Committee on Signs and Symbols, and in 1985 was invited by Industry and Government to set up the not-for-profit Communication Research Institute. He was Foundation Director of the Advanced Studies Program at the International Institute of Information Design, Adjunct Professor in Science Communication at the Australian National University, Adjunct Professor of Information Design at the University of Technology in Sydney, and Visiting Professor of Information Design at the Design Institute at Coventry University. He is a frequently invited speaker at international conferences in NorthAmerica, Europe and Asia, and has authored over 200 publications.

Plain English Stories

Editor’s note: Plain language advocates and consultants, like many other communication consultants, make claims for the effectiveness of what they do without necessarily offering any evidence. This was the […]

Plain English: the getting of wisdom

Originally published in Communication News 9(3) May/June 1996

In 1994 the University of Sydney’s Centres for Plain Legal Language and Microeconomic Policy Analysis jointly published a discussion paper on the […]

Defining communication by its boundary

This is a paper about boundaries, edges, limits. It is a contribution to the ongoing debate about the status of communication. We explore the line between what is and what is not communication: the boundary of communication. It is part of a wider project to lay the foundations for communication as a discipline, to provide methodological coherence and rigour to the communication point of view.

Designing documents for people to use.

CRI has worked on over 200 public document design projects since it began as a small unit in 1985. CRI investigates practical methods and achievable standards for designing digital and paper public documents, including forms; workplace procedural notices; bills, letters, and emails sent by organizations; labels and instructions that accompany products and services; and legal and financial documents and contracts.

Medicine Label Usability

This Model CRI Project was undertaken to demonstrate how the application of information design methods could lead to better medicine label usability. Along with a later projects, it was instrumental in bringing about a change in the regulations for Over The Counter (OTC) Medicines.

Rethinking communication: the big shift #8

Rethinking communication is not easy stuff and I would not be offended or surprised if many readers of this blog stop at this point and come back when I have something more practical and less abstract to write about.

Guidelines: monitoring performance

Monitoring the performance of your information documents is both the first and the last stage in designing effective information documents. Document design is cyclical: to improve your existing documents, […]

Credibility lost: the banks

Banks have lost credibility

Unlike the expulsion from paradise, lost credibility is not a one-way trip, but the journey back for banks is arduous, full of trials and habitual hubris […]

A statement of advice

Never ever trust Statements of Advice in their current incarnation. If you live in Australia, reports from the hearings by the Royal Commission into Misconduct in the Banking, Superannuation and Financial Services Industry will have revealed some—but not all—of the reasons why today's SOA can't be trusted.