The aim of communication is to express. But all too often, plain English loses out to poorly written content.
This has been highlighted in a recent study by VisibleThread. It found that 82% of UK Local Authority websites don’t meet UK Government target readability standards for UK Government departments.
The UK Government’s content design: planning, writing and managing content guidelines state that: “Plain English is mandatory for all of GOV.UK…Plain English is the whole ethos of GOV.UK: it’s a way of writing.”
The guidelines also state: “Good online content is easy to read and understand…This helps people find what they need quickly and absorb it effortlessly.”
VisibleThread analysed the clarity of written content on 191 (46%) of the UK’s Local Authorities’ websites to assess how they perform.
According to the study the results indicate: “…a lack of consistency in the adoption and implementation of the Writing for GOV.UK guidelines produced by the UK Government.”
And using plain English is important for several reasons.
The average reading age of the UK population is nine years, which means people have reached the reading ability normally expected of a nine year old.
Also, data from the 2011 UK census shows that a growing section of the UK population either don’t speak English, or speak a different main language other than English.
Finally, around 15% of the UK population have a learning difficulty like dyslexia.
Therefore, using plain English is vital in order to make sure your website’s content can be read by as many people as possible so service users have the opportunity to access important information.
If a lack of plain English is a problem for your organisation, before you consider rewriting your entire website, there is a tool that can help – Recite Me.
Recite Me’s custom tool can be added to a website in five minutes to make the content more accessible to people with a disability or visual impairment.
The tool bar offers website users a full-range of customisable options that allow them to customise your website the way they need it to work for them.
As well as having a dictionary it lets users do things like change font sizes and colours, read text aloud (including PDFs), and customise the background colour.
For example, people with dyslexia can read more quickly and easily if they are given the functionality to allow them to change the size and colour of the text.
With the ability to customise the background colour of your website, people with dyslexia will be able to access your content up to 25% faster than without this feature.
Recite Me can also translate your website’s content into over 100 languages at the click of a button.
To make your website more accessible why not book an appointment for a product demonstration and free 30 day trial?