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.