Illustration of a brain inside a head

11 Apr 2017

The words we use impact how people around us feel



At Snook, we believe it is important to think about the design of all tangible elements that make experiences for people.

We know detail matters.

From the start of this month, Child Tax Credit is only available for your first and second child. It doesn’t apply to your third and subsequent children unless in the cases of rape or coercive relationships. Here’s the form women in this situation will have to fill in:


We know that this is not right and we oppose it

From research with SafeLives, Chayn, and Comic Relief on Tech Vs Abuse to work on (re-)designing public sector services and forms – we know that policy and language matters.

The policies we create become tangible objects or ‘products of the system’ that people have to interface with. Often, these are not designed or considered in the journey from policy to delivery.

The words that we use, the forms we design, and the content presented to people have an impact on how they feel.

All of this can have an effect on confidence, trust, financial situation, and cause significant psychological harm.

We need to design with empathy

Starting with policy, we should ask questions in the least intrusive ways possible. And test these with the people who will be using the services to make sure they’re right.

Dr Marsha Scott of Scottish Women’s Aid tells Common Space: “… forcing a woman to disclose that her child was born of rape or coercion in any circumstance is ethically unjustifiable.”

We ask that the design is re-considered and properly thought through

In addition, some of us here at Snook will be joining protests against this policy. You can join the protests here.