UK’s digital service bans eg and ie

Abbreviations are confusing for visually impaired readers.

Britain’s Government Digital Service has banned Latin abbreviations to improve e-services for the disabled. “We’ve found that several programs that read webpages for those with visual impairment read ‘eg’ incorrectly, so we’re updating the style guide”, wrote Persis Howe, Content Community Manager for UK GDS on the GDS blog last week. Screen reading software sometimes reads ‘eg’ as ‘egg’, she said. The team suggests using words like ‘for example’, ‘such as’, ‘like’, or ‘including’ to replace it. ‘Etc’ should also be replaced with ‘such as’ or ‘including’, the blog adds, while ‘ie’ isn’t always understood and can be substituted with ‘meaning’ or ‘that is’. There are currently over 4,000 uses of Latin abbreviations on British Government websites, which the GDS believes is outdated. I.e. stands for id est, while eg. stands for exempli gratia. The team will replace this usage in batches, rewriting content so that it still makes sense. Meanwhile, all new content must avoid these terms to be published on the official government portal - Gov.UK.