We write in plain language to convey messages that are clear, concise and effective.
We teach people the methods and techniques of plain language writing.
We test and certify documents to prove they are suitable for readers and likely to achieve purpose.
Our plain language principles:
1. Clear writing can only come from clear thinking
Thinking well and writing well are closely related. Writing is a creative, organising, defining activity that makes thinking clear and precise.
2. A writer’s job is to serve their readers
The reader is at the centre of a writer’s activities. Writers must work hard to make it easy for readers to find the information they need, understand what is written, and use the information.
3. Businesses and governments produce ‘functional documents’
Functional documents are written to achieve an organisation’s purpose. They are communication assets that must be crafted to perform – just like any other asset.
4. Functional documents (information products) must be written plainly
Difficult to read and unclear documents cannot be acted on properly. Not writing plainly can cause social disadvantage. It can also put the document owner at risk.
5. Information products should be tested
Like any product, information products should be tested to make sure they work well. Publishing a document without testing may be reckless – see recklesswriting.org.