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Improving Accessibility by Using Plain Language

We can build elevators and put in ramps for those with low mobility. Sign Language interpreters and closed captions can help those who are Deaf. People with vision deficiencies can benefit from large print, Braille, or audiobooks. But how do we make concepts, instructions, and other writings more accessible? One way is following the guidelines of “plain language.” 

What is Plain Language? 

This is how the Plain Writing Act of 2010 defines plain language: 

Writing that is clear, concise, well-organized, and follows other best practices appropriate to the subject or field and intended audience. 

Material is in plain language if an audience can meet several goals while reading or hearing it. These include finding what they need and understanding it the first time they read or hear it. 

Even though this Act is guidance for federal offices, anyone can follow plain language guidelines. And, there are lots of tools and resources out there for people wanting to learn more. 

Plain Language and Accessibility 

Simple writing makes reading and understanding easier for everyone, not just those with disabilities. You may be wondering how that is possible. Well, plain language means people understand what they’re reading more quickly. This means they need explanations less often. As a result, they’ll make fewer errors when filling out forms or following instructions.

From plainlanguage.gov: 

Though no one knows the total cost of poor communication, the information we do have suggests it’s high. Writing in plain language isn’t easy, but it pays off in positive results. 

Why Palco Cares About Plain Language 

Let’s be honest — Self-direction can be really confusing! We don’t want anyone to feel “out of the loop” on anything, but especially when it involves their own care. That’s why we try to write as simply as we can, when we can.  

Plain Language writing isn’t an exact science, and it can never meet everyone’s needs. However, we try our best, so you can live your best life. 

by Abby Burch
Business Development/Sales Specialist

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