Explain yourself!

Clear microcopy, gender-inclusive writing guidelines, how jargon can empower communities, and a fantastic content-related podcast.

Welcome to another issue of Plain English Weekly. 💌

There are almost 500 of you subscribed now and I am slightly blown away by how quickly that has happened!

I think this probably means I have successfully tested whether there is an appetite for plain English-related advice and information? Next step is to ask you about and make a plan for how this humble, infant newsletter can grow into something more helpful and substantial.

All suggestions and feedback welcome, of course. You can reply to this email or contact me in various ways.

Enjoy this week's links...


PS If you subscribed recently, do explore previous issues where I am sure you will find even more handy clear language content.

Plain English training!
I run exciting plain English workshops with teams from all sorts of organisations. Email iain@verymeta.com if you'd like to know more about how they work.

UK Home Office design system's readability guidelines

Some super clear language guidelines but also some examples of users who may have access needs and what they may find helpful. They include people who are blind or partially sighted, dyslexic and non-native English speakers.

UX writing: making our microcopy clear, concise and useful

Miles Taylor, now at Torchbox, wrote this while at University of Bristol. It comes from having pulled a load of information together to try and explain the benefits of UX writing and clear content to internal project teams. This is a job that often seems to fall to us content folk. Plain language? Explain yourself!

The international guide to gender-inclusive writing

I only just found this huge guide put together by the Gender-inclusive Language Project and published by UX Content Collective.

...refer to this guide for suggested best practices around using gender-inclusive language to ensure that all people feel welcome and acknowledged in your experiences.

There is so much useful information in here. I've added it to my bookmarks.

The case for jargon

I like this piece by content designer, Amy Hupe, because it acknowledges the nuances of language and even plain English. Yes, in most cases, jargon should be avoided. But jargon can empower people and communities too.

This is a fantastic paragraph:

Jargon always gives power to those who understand it, and takes power from those who don’t. It’s really important that we recognise this and think about who we’re empowering and disempowering when we use jargon.

The Content Strategy Podcast

There are a few great content-focused podcasts and none more so than the Content Strategy Podcast. It's hosted by Kristina Halvorson, who wrote the book on content strategy, and features excellent interviews with content folk from around the world. Go explore the archives and get started.

"Quality, relevant content can't be spotted by an algorithm. You can't subscribe to it. You need people - actual human beings - to create or curate it."
Kristina Halvorson

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