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Thursday, July 12, 2012

Plain language is a process | Usability in Civic Life

Using a typical election ballot as an example, the blogger describes five steps to make its instructions to voters easier to read, comprehend and use.

The blogger writes:
There are great lists of guidelines and tips for writing in plain language, but when you are faced with making confusing instructions clear, where do you start?
One way is to think about plain language as a process. Instead of trying to get the whole thing write in one try, edit in a series of steps.
Here are headings for the five steps:
  1. Put the instructions in a logical order
  2. Remove centering and capitals. Add emphasis on the most important instructions
  3. Simplify phrases to use common words
  4. Continue simplifying and using active phrasing
  5. Make the text large enough to see
As the blogger concludes:
The final version is short, clear, direct, and easier to read.
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This article is featured in today's (July 12) Garbl's Plain English Paragraphs -- available at the Plain Language tab above and by free email subscription.

For more information, check out Garbl's Plain English Writing GuideIt describes seven steps to help you write clearly to meet the needs of your readers -- and your needs too!

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