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If content is easy to read it helps more users understand what to do. This includes users with lower reading comprehension.

  • Why it's important

    • Adara is not a native English speaker. Adara sometimes find it hard to understand legal or bureaucratic words.
    • Aadhya is a lawyer. Aadhya needs to quickly find and understand government information.
    • Kai has low tech literacy. Kai often doesn’t understand highly technical language.

Steps to take

  1. Read the Australian Government Content Guide on plain English and readability levels. The guide has advice, words to avoid, and links to plain-language resources.
  2. As you’re writing, think about the literacy level of your target audience.
  3. The page title is the first thing someone using a screen reader will hear. It’s important to write a clear title. Search results usually show the page title so it must describe the page clearly.
  4. You should expand abbreviations and acronyms the first time you use them.
  5. Include in-line definitions for scientific, legal, or technical terms. Only use these terms if needed.
  6. Think about adding a glossary. This helps if your content has a lot of terms that could be unfamiliar.
  7. Avoid using idioms.
  8. Test the readability of your content. On this website we use Hemingway App to help shape our content. Similar online tools include Readable.io and Juicy Studio. If you are editing in Word see how to turn on Flesch-Kincaid.

Supporting resources

Web Content Accessibility Guidelines

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Published by: Digital Citizen Services
Last update: 28 May 2019, plain English update

Content on this page published with acknowledgement.