Website Writing Guide

Writing principles for the Web

Using plain English

Plain English is communication that all your audiences can understand.

A Web page is written in plain language if the intended audiences can:

  • find the information they want or need
  • understand it on first reading
  • act on what they read.

 

Some benefits of using plain English:

  • users are happy because they get what they want fast and they can understand it
  • happy online users are more likely to promote your product, service or information to others
  • it reduces staff time explaining products and services on the phone, in emails and over the counter
  • it reduces the cost of communicating poorly with customers - losing customers, failing to sell more, failing to establish your credibility
  • staff feel better about their job because they are not frustrated by having to repeat information, their customers are better informed and easier to deal with
  • staff can spend more time on productive tasks.

 

The US Government website, Plain Language, has a wealth of information on this topic.

See the page on Plain language: the bottom line for a series of examples quantifying how much time users saved as a result of communicating in plain language.

 

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