Good morning <<First Name>>!
We hope you're having a great week, and have a relaxing weekend planned.
This month, you'll be meeting one of our talented Website Analysts, the lovely Simonette Carter.
Simonette is a Website Analyst with WebKey IT, based in Perth, Western Australia. With a background in linguistics and publishing, Simonette is passionate about the promotion of inclusivity in the digital sphere. In her spare time, she enjoys volunteering at Horsepower Australia (formerly Riding for the Disabled Association) and experimenting in the kitchen.
Plain English for Digital Accessibility
As human beings, we use language, both spoken and written, to communicate to each other. We have all had the experience of reading or hearing something that was so jumbled, over-complicated, or poorly-written, that we failed to understand the message that was being conveyed. Add to this the challenges that a person with a physical, cognitive, or developmental disability may face, and you will see why the use of Plain, or Simple English is integral in accessible design.
At the centre of accessibility is the concept of inclusivity. All users must be given an equal opportunity to access the information they require, when they require it.
Some ways to write in Plain English include:
- Using commonly understood or simple words, instead of more complex ones, for example:
- help, instead of assistance
- second-last, instead of penultimate
- Avoid legalisms or acronyms, whose meaning may not be well known, if at all.
- Avoid using slang or idioms. This type of language is particularly inaccessible to those who are English as a Second Language speakers, as it depends the user having specific cultural knowledge to interpret abstract or obscure concepts.
- Use short and clear sentences.
Using Plain English will enable you to communicate your message to as many people as possible, in the most clear and effective manner.