Re: Notes and Resources on Plain Language

Additional resources:

Models for Readability Testing (*includes Grade Level based on U.S. Department of Education standards)

Flesch–Kincaid readability tests * – Wikipedia

The Coleman-Liau Index * – Wikipedia

The Gunning Fog Index * – Wikipedia

The SMOG (Simple Measure of Gobbledygook) Index * – Wikipedia

Common European Framework of Reference – Wikipedia

International English Language Testing System – Wikipedia


Hemingway App


The Center for Plain Language

Plain Language at the National Institutes of Health

The Plain Language Institute, South Africa


Tell It To Me Straight: Plain Language in UX – Linn Vizard (2016)

Writing for the Web – Nielsen Norman Group

Writing for the Web –

What is plain language? – Cheryl Stephens


Amy Hasselkus, Health Communicator and Speech-Language Pathologist, George Mason University
Jennifer Pearce, MPA Health literacy and patient engagement consultant, Plain Language Health
John Rochford, Instructor, University of Massachusetts Medical School
Tim Boland, Computer Scientist/Access Coordinator, National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST)
Dr. Deborah Dahl, Principal, Conversational Technologies
Dr. Sarah Slabbert, Owner at The Plain Language Institute
Whitney Quesenbery, Co-Founder at Center for Civic Design
Dr. Russell Willerton, Professor, Poise State University

Charles Hall
UX Architect, Technology

t / 248.203.8723  m / 248.225.8179
e /
skype / charles.h.all
360 W Maple, Birmingham MI 48009
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Creativity. Technology. Performance.
From: "Hall, Charles (DET-MRM)" <>
Date: Tuesday, April 3, 2018 at 11:56 AM
To: Silver Task Force <>
Subject: [EXTERNAL] Notes and Resources on Plain Language
Resent-From: Silver Task Force <>
Resent-Date: Tuesday, April 3, 2018 at 11:56 AM

First, the focus of the discussion that emerged during and following the Design Sprint was split between 2 main considerations:

  1.  Regardless of terminology choice between “Plain Language” or “Simple Language”, should we adopt an existing external standard or create one?
     *   Does the fact that the standard already exists lend credibility to Silver and align to its goals?
     *   Is there any licensing or restrictions involved in using the standard?
  2.  Requirements (or guidelines) – likely in the form of a style guide – will need to be defined for explicitly how to write criteria and any supporting ‘understanding’ documents in plain language in EACH supported language.

Here are some resources I have located for consideration when discussing plain language:

W3C Reading Level Understanding SC 3.1.5

Cites being ‘adapted from’ the UNESCO standard based on education level.

CRPD Article 2 – Definitions, Plain Language

U.S. Government Publishing Office, Plain Writing Act of 2010

Supported by 2 Executive Orders and Office of Management and Budget Guidelines

Federal Plain Language Guidelines (U.S.)

U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission Plain English Handbook

European Commission Publications, How to Write Clearly

Gov.UK Guidance for Government Digital Publishing and Services

Information for all – European Standards [Lifelong Learning Programme & Inclusion Europe] [pdf]

How to Write Standards – ISO (2016) [pdf]

What Is Plain Language? – Plain Language Association International (PLAIN)

Plain language: accessibility for information – Whitney Quesenbery (2014) Article

Plain language: accessibility for information – Whitney Quesenbery (2016) Slide Deck

3.1.5 – Reading Level (Level AAA) – Luke McGrath, WUHCAG (2014)

Inclusivity, Gestalt Principles, and Plain Language in Document Design – Jennifer Turner and Jessica Schomberg (2016)

Plain Legal Language General Resources – Clarity International

Plain Language – Wikipedia

Finally, I would consider this required reading for anyone discussing or working on translating the current WCAG SCs into plain language, since this effort is exactly that:

Web Content Accessibility Guidelines—for People Who Haven’t Read Them – Alan Dalton (2017)

Charles Hall
UX Architect, Technology

t / 248.203.8723  m / 248.225.8179
e /
skype / charles.h.all
360 W Maple, Birmingham MI 48009
w /

Creativity. Technology. Performance.

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Received on Friday, 6 April 2018 02:27:20 UTC