What JETdoc does

Clear, effective writing

Good writing is clear and focused, and makes sense to the readers it’s intended for. That’s not achieved by simplistic one-size-fits-all rules,
or misleading, discredited ‘readability formulae’. The words and structure must be tailored to the people who will read the information, and the context in which they will read it.

 

First ask:

  • Who’s it for? — for example, their age, education, knowledge and skills, and their current situation

  • How much do they know already? What else do they want or need to know?

  • What do they want to achieve from reading this?

  • What do we want to achieve by providing this?

Clear writing is sometimes referred to simply as ‘plain language’. The Plain Language Association International (PLAIN) defines plain language thus:

A communication is in plain language if its wording, structure, and design are so clear that the intended audience can easily find what they need, understand what they find, and use that information.

The quality of writing is therefore measured in terms of its effectiveness.
As the information designer Karen Schriver puts it:

Professionals determine that their communication is “plain enough,” not based on personal opinion or the use of the latest writing and design techniques, but on the assessment of the resulting product in the eyes of the intended audience.

That’s where usability testing comes in.

By using proven best practice, we can ensure that our writing will be effective, even when testing isn’t an option. But even the most experienced writers and designers can’t always predict exactly what difficulties users might have. Usability testing is a highly effective way of identifying what needs to be improved and how.

© 2019 by JETdoc