Read time: 1 minute 30 seconds

If content is easy to read it helps more people understand what to do. This includes people with lower reading comprehension.

  • Adara is not a native English speaker. Adara sometimes find it hard to understand legal or bureaucratic words.
  • Aadhya is a lawyer. Aadhya needs to quickly find and understand government information.
  • Kai has low tech literacy. Kai often doesn’t understand highly technical language.

Steps to take

  1. Use the Australian Government Style Manual as an ongoing reference point. The manual has advice on plain language and links to plain-language resources.
  2. As you’re writing, think about the literacy level of your target audience. Improve the reach of your online content by reading our introduction to easy read.
  3. The page title is the first thing someone using a screen reader will hear. It’s important to write a clear title. Search results usually show the page title so it must describe the page clearly.
  4. You should expand abbreviations and acronyms the first time you use them.
  5. Include in-line definitions for scientific, legal, or technical terms. Only use these terms if needed.
  6. Think about adding a glossary. This helps if your content has a lot of terms that could be unfamiliar.
  7. Avoid using idioms.
  8. Avoid using sarcasm. If sarcasm is used, explicitly state that the statement was sarcasm. Through text, sarcasm can be much harder to convey for everyone, but it will be especially confusing for people with autism.
  9. Clearly communicate warnings, status messaging, and confirmation messages. These can assist people with cognitive and learning disability.
  10. Test the readability of your content. On this website, we use Hemingway App to help shape our content. Similar online tools include Readable.io and Juicy Studio. If you are editing in Word see how to turn on Flesch-Kincaid. When testing the readability of content using readability tools, remove the proper nouns so it does not impact the score.
  11. Watch World Wide Web Consortium's (W3C) understandable content video (54 seconds):

  • Transcript and translations: understandable content (W3C)

  • Page last updated: 17 June 2021