The truly collaborative, universal, inclusive content Readability Guideline project is now drawing conclusions. It will create a style guide that includes plain language recommendations. Content Design London is leading the project using Slack and Wikidot. As we are often challenged to create or follow a style guide, having one with this kind of solid research, global input and varied expertise behind it is invaluable.
Focus on accessibility
Plain language is all about accessibility and this is a critical factor in online content. The project’s Beta phase discussions focused on 15 topics. Under plain language their recommendations include:
- Make content understandable and clear for users who may have a variety of literacy and accessibility challenges.
- Always use short, common words.
- Avoid jargon, abbreviations and acronyms.
Plain language readability guidelines
Their public wiki activity identified these readability guidelines supported by evidence:
- Use simple sentences.
- Keep link text at the end of a sentence.
- Avoid referencing gender or age in content.
- Choose respectful vocabulary.
Where to next?
They will continue to usability test important readability questions. Topics are still open for discussion and people with relevant data should share it.
Support this initiative by using #readabilityguidelines, providing any research-supported readability data you have collected or donating funds.
Thanks to Rob Mills at Gather Content for his blog share.
Another great resource is the online, searchable UK Government Style Guide.
Their mission was clear. Their methods tested. Their results excellent.