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A Review of the Key Ideas from the Austin Conference Plain Language and Readability.

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Presentation on theme: "A Review of the Key Ideas from the Austin Conference Plain Language and Readability."— Presentation transcript:

1 A Review of the Key Ideas from the Austin Conference Plain Language and Readability

2 Your Guide Kate Bladow NPADO Project Coordinator Pro Bono Net

3 Learning Goals You will know what plain language and readability are how to get started where to go for more information

4 So what is plain language?

5 Clear, concise, and correct. --Richard C. Wydick Professor of Law Emeritus UC Davis School of Law

6 Why bother? Everyone appreciates clarity. You empower your readers. It saves time and money. People wont dread reading your writing.

7 Break It Into Pieces Look at the big four - Register Reading interest and persistence Visual accessibility Usability

8 Register Use active voice and direct address. Use You can find information about the laws here. Instead of Information about the laws can be found by clicking here.clicking here Use familiar words and phrasings. Use international Instead of intercountry Explain specialized terms. For example A rental agreement is also called a "lease." For example A Power of Attorney for Property lets someone else manage your money and property for you. Do not use foreign words, archaic and noun- heavy phrasings. Use methods for resolving a dispute Instead of dispute resolution methodologies

9 Reading Interest & Persistence Put the title at the top. Use headings. Organize your information. Answer your readers questions. Make it short. Chunk the text.

10 © 2008 Transcend

11 Visual Accessibility Use sentence case. Avoid text enhancers – bold, italic, underline, strike-out, and reverse text. Chunk your paragraphs. Use headings.

12 Fonts Serif Fonts Printed documents Paragraph text San Serif Fonts Online documents Printed documents Headings All Spanish, Chinese, and Vietnamese documents

13 Additional Formatting Hints Use system fonts. Use different font sizes. Do not justify if it creates rivers of white. Boxes may or may not be read. Use columns. Never hyphenate. Do not double space. Do not center paragraphs.

14 Usability Test your document.

15 Process

16 Resources Plain English for Lawyers by Richard C. Wydick The Redbook: A Manual on Legal Style by Bryan A. Garner Is Plain Language Better? by Maria Midlin - Plain Language Works for Pro Per Litigants by Maria Midlin - OKAPI! Readability Statistics - kapi.php kapi.php

17 Questions? Kate Bladow

18 Credits These photos are from Flickr with Creative Commons license.

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