Sensory Trust factsheet

Making information accessible:
Plain language

Plain language is designed to communicate things simply and clearly. It doesn't deny the richness of a language, or dumb down content, but it does avoid unnecessary jargon and overly complex or convoluted ways of saying things.

These principles are championed by the Plain English Campaign. We're using the term Plain Language here as the principles apply to all languages.

Benefits of plain language

Readers are more likely to:

Information providers benefit because:

Guidelines

Before you start writing be clear about:

Structure

Style

These are intended as guidelines and not hard and fast rules. The important thing is to work with your own style to say what you mean to say, in as clear and direct a way as possible. Writing content for website and blogs can be good practice.

Check your writing

There are online reading checks that can help to an extent, for example at www.timetabler.com/reading.html . But the best way is to find someone appropriate to read out loud what you have written. We often use phrasing in our written work that, while it looks natural to us on the page, sounds clunky when read aloud. Test everything!

In brief

  • Using plain language benefits you and the reader
  • Think about who are you writing for and use information and language that is appropriate
  • Get someone else to read it, ideally someone who understands the target audience
  • Keep it simple

For example

The sentence ...
"High-quality learning environments are a necessary precondition for facilitation and enhancement of the ongoing learning process."

written in Plain English ...
"Children need good schools if they are to learn well."

More information

Can we help?

Sensory Trust consultancy services include designing and advising on:

  • on-site and pre-visit visitor guides, leaflets, booklets
  • maps, trail markers, signage
  • games, activities to engage the senses