What comes next?

Building a plain English culture, the case for letter case, another text analysis tool and a tiny survey to find out what you want next.

I'm Iain Broome and this is another edition of Plain English Weekly. Together, we've managed to hit 500 subscribers in just a couple of months. That's way ahead of my expectations, so thank you again for sharing. Please don't stop!

What would you like to see next? I'd love to know.

When you get a spare 30 seconds, I've created a one-question survey to try and find out what plain English information, training or tools you'd find most useful. Just select the magic button and share your thoughts.

And now enjoy this week's links below...


PS It looks there may be a (potentially large) pause on the project work that's kept me busy for most of this year. If you need an experienced freelance copywriter, content designer or heck, all-round plain English specialist, do get in touch.

Start building a plain language culture today

We start with a nice piece by James Hanington that covers the importance of creating a culture of plain language in an organisation. I've had a go at this a few times and while it's a challenge, it's also perfectly possible. A style guide helps, of course. As does training. But both are pretty useless if there aren't clear standards to aim for and regular support.

Quick guide to plain language (on just nine slides)

Love these short slides by June C, a content design consultant at SPARCK. While I love a comprehensive online course, you can't beat a few good ideas on a handful of screens to get a message across.

Why we use plain English

This absolutely ancient (from 2015) blog post by Ben Clancy, then at the Department for Environment, Food & Rural Affairs (Defra), stands up rather nicely. Sometimes, it really is important to remind people why you use plain English. It can be helpful for your audience, sure. But also colleagues and teams that you work with from day to day.

Making a case for letter case

I mean, I'm team title case all the way and that's certainly the way most style guides I work with do it. That said, this is a good overview of why some people choose title case over sentence case, even if it doesn't make much sense to me. I'm looking at you, Apple. đź‘€

Oh – I found this via Adam Silver's excellent newsletter for UX and content folk.

TextBuddy: a plain English text analyzer tool

TextBuddy is another online tool that lets you chuck a in load of text so it can tidy things up and spit out a theoretically clearer version. It highlights any complex words, passive verbs and long sentences that the robots think may need an extra full stop or two.

Over time, as each writer within an organization writes and as the organization itself communicates with customers and the public, this co-accountability leads to a culture that prizes writing that is brief, clear, precise, logical—and therefore persuasive.
James Hanington

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