Importance of plain language

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Plain language is a style of organising information and writing that focuses on the readers’ (or users’) needs. It considers the intent of the author and what the reader needs to do with the content provided, as well as making sure that information is worded in a way that the reader can easily understand.

Writing in plain language is more than using mechanical techniques; like using simple words, shorter sentences, the active voice and the like. Those techniques are useful, but they are not enough. Good plain language writers think more deeply than words, sentences and paragraphs. They put themselves in the place of the reader, seeking to serve them.

In a sense, plain language is invisible – readers don’t see it. All they see is ideas being conveyed clearly, ideas they can immediately understand. Plain language writing is like a shop display window – people see straight through it to the products or ideas on display.