So what’s the deal with plain language?
All those superfluous words and we just can’t use them? Sigh… Oh yes, you can, go right ahead but… The whole purpose of communication is to effectively give a message to your audience. If your communication confuses rather than clarifies, then you’ve got yourself a problem. Take a look at the following examples:
Example 1 - A web service method known as "CreateProject" can be used when creating a project by a user of a company whereupon the company will own the project created by a user in Boligmappa.
Example 2 – CreateProject
This method is used to create a project in Boligmappa. The project is owned by the company of the user (project owner) who created this project.
Which example is easier to understand? Give yourself a pat on the back if you selected example 2. You just selected an extract from the Boligmappa web services revised documentation. That’s what plain language is about. It refers to communication that an audience can understand as soon as they read or hear it. It’s clearly defined by the result. You either get the message or you don’t. There’s no clear cut technique for plain language but when writing, keep the following in mind. The audience must:
- Find what they need,
- Understand what they find; and
- Use what they find to meet their needs.
Some of the writing techniques encouraged by plainlanguage.gov are the use of:
- A logical organization of information for the audience
- “You” and other pronouns
- An active voice
- Short sentences
- Common words
- An easy-to-read design
At Boligmappa, we’re are committed to help you. With this in mind we are in the process of refining our documentation for readability, clarity and user friendliness. You too can adopt plain language for your own blogs and even within your company for clearer communication.