Plain Language Tools
The following tools will help you to write and edit webpages and other documents in Plain Language.
- Hemingway App
- Copy and paste your text into the Hemingway App to highlight uses of the passive voice, long and complex sentences, common wordy phrases, and other opportunities for simplification
- Note that there is a downloadable version available for sensitive documents
- Microsoft Word - add Readability statistics to your spell checker
- Follow the instructions in the link to make Word display readability statistics including the Flesch-Kincaid Grade Level of your document
- plainlanguage.gov - U.S. government plain language resources
- Plain Language Checklist (PDF, 42.5KB)
- A checklist to ensure that your webpage meets key accessibility, plain language, and style guidelines
The following articles discuss some of the research-based evidence supporting the benefits of plain language.
- Legibility, Readability, and Comprehension: Making Users Read Your Words - Nielsen Norman Group
- Plain Language is For Everyone, Even Experts - Nielsen Norman Group
- Plain Language: Its Effect on Organizational Performance - plainlanguage.gov
- Plain Language: The Bottom Line - plainlanguage.gov
- Inverted Pyramid: Writing for Comprehension - Nielsen Norman Group
The following videos help to explain the importance of plain language.
Video Summary: TEDx talk by Deborah Bosley, who believes that people have a right to understand information that affects their lives
Duration: 19 minutes
Video Summary: TEDx talk by Sandra Fisher-Martins about the importance of Plain Language
Duration: 15 minutes
Notes: This video is in Portuguese with English subtitles
Video Summary: Vancouver Design & Content Conference talk by Sara Wachter-Boettcher. Discusses the concept of "stress cases" and highlights the importance of considering our whole audience when creating content.
Duration: 45 minutes
Notes: Full transcript available
Warning: This presentation mentions sexual assault.
Related Government Programs
Plain Language supports the following B.C. government goals and values:
- Where Ideas Work
- Plain language training builds internal capacity and improves competitiveness
- Using Plain Language enhances service to citizens
- Plain Language is a part of building inclusive and accessible services and workplace
- BC Public Service Corporate Values: