Persuade the doubters

Why plain language is for everyone, designing a style guide people will use, and the book for all budding content designers.

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On to this week's links...


I run plain English workshops that help teams of all sizes start writing content in clear language. Email if you'd like to know more and we can have a chit-chat.

Plain Language Is for Everyone, Even Experts

One web page (and associated video) full of useful advice, information and practical things you can do to improve your writing. The thrust of the piece shows why the people who might typically argue against clear language are, in fact, wrong. You can use this to persuade the doubters you find in your own work.

How to design a style guide that people actually use

Some useful insight here from Angela Moore writing on the excellent Scroll blog. If you've ever needed a style guide or you have one and no one uses it, this is a really good place to start.

Allow me to share a tip of my own. It sounds silly, but there is one style guide of mine that got used the most. I knew it would make a huge impact if everyone embraced it, but there was low digital maturity in the team. So I printed hard copies out and put them on everyone's desks.

It worked because they could see it right there in front of them and watch each other use it as a reference document. Within a few months, they were adding new stuff to the guide themselves and gradually we all moved to the digital version, which was collectively kept up to date. Win!

GOV.UK style guide - A to Z

Of course, if you don't have a style guide for your organisation, you can always borrow some good advice from elsewhere. My freelance work is currently in the public sector on projects in local and national government, so the GOV.UK style guide is more or less my best pal at this point.

Noun vs Verb: What’s the Difference?

If you don't mind me saying so, I am pretty good at writing in clear language. But can I remember all the different types of verb, noun and any other linguistic reference without checking Google? Nope. Nope I can't.

Book: Content Design by Sarah Winters

If plain English is part of your role as a content designer, chances are this book needs no introduction. It's the authority on content design and sits on my desk next to me every day. If you write web content of any kind, I recommend you get a copy for your desk too.

"Being clear in your language is the fastest route to making someone else understand what you are trying to communicate. Nothing else."
Sarah Winters, Content Design

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