Image shows a hand cleaning a window. Text reads, “Help your readers out. Plain language keeps it clear. New in October 2023 Wordnerdery.”Way back when the world was still coming to grips with the pandemic, helping people understand information took on new urgency. Where could we find the latest news? How could we stay safe? And how far apart was six feet anyway?

You could argue that today’s state of the world means it’s even more urgent to help people understand. So to mark International Plain Language Day (Oct. 13), my October newsletter took a closer look at plain language.

“The way we communicate can save lives or make them harder,” said the Center for Plain Language on Plain Language Day in 2020. That year, they noted, was an opportunity to help with what people needed to know about COVID-19.

But in a report card they gave 20 U.S. government agencies, they found that the websites were “too focused on the agency, not the public.” Information was hard to find in long lists with vague headlines. The word “you” was also scarce.

How to fix it? The super power of plain language is bringing together words, structure and design so your readers can:

  • Find what they need
  • Understand what they find the first time they read it
  • Use what they find to meet their needs.

Read detailed tips on structure and word choice to help you use the power of plain language in my October Wordnerdery.

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