Writing in Plain English

Plain English is clear and unambiguous language, without the use of technical or difficult terms. Plain English is a vital part of creating accessible content for you users. Particularly when considering the creation of content for those with cognitive or learning difficulties, however plain English can have a massive impact on everyone’s experience of your content.

Making things easier to understand for everyone should always be part of the aim and plain English practices although one of the harder parts to measure under the new regulations as comprehension of content and conveyed meaning in a non technical sense is not part of WCAG, but does still fit into the POUR principle of ensuring your content is understandable.

Why Plain English is vital for accessibility PowerPoint presentation by Angela Groth-Seary and Sarah Fisher, delivered at the Kent Digital Accessibility Conference is a good resource to help you present plain English to staff and help them begin to understand some easy actions they can take to improve their content. Also available is the Plain English Cheat Sheet.

The Home Office have also created some fantastic posters on the dos and don’ts on designing for accessibility. The messages in these posters have been widely adopted and are a great quick reference to have around the office when writing content.

More about plain English, including free guides and words to avoid can be found on the Plain English website.