Plain language benefits all users, including people with cognitive disabilities, low reading literacy, and people who are encountering an unknown topic or language. For websites and web applications, people need to be able to find what they need, understand what they find, and use that to accomplish tasks.
Write content for clarity and comprehension:
- Put information in logical order, with the important details first. “Front-loading” content is helpful for all readers. “‘Designing Accessible User Experiences’ is a new course that will be offered this Fall” is easier to grasp right away than “There is a new course offering coming this Fall called ‘Designing Accessible User Experiences.’”
- Use active voice, with a clear “actor“ in your writing. “You must enroll in the course by Friday” is more clear and comprehensible than “Course enrollments must be completed by Friday.”
- Use familiar language. Fit your language to your audience and context. Provide definitions for unusual words and for abbreviations.
- Mark language changes. Screen reader software will pronounce words correctly if they are indicated in the page code.
- Carry out a usability test of your content. When you ask colleagues, friends, or others who you consider to be part of the target audience to read your content, is content meaningful and understandable to them?