Why we should use plain English

Duncan Stephen
Monday 10 March 2014

It’s not dumbing down, it’s opening up

Here is another great video from the Government Digital Service, this time outlining its approach towards using plain English throughout the website.

The big one, and the one I actually bet everyone in the room a million pounds they would hear, is that they’d be told they were dumbing down at some point.

It always blows the top of my head off when people say that because I think it’s so incredibly rude…

If you look at this use of plain English it’s not dumbing down but actually opening up government information to all.

While working on the Study at St Andrews website, we have been trying wherever possible to simplify the content so that it is easier for users to understand. I think we have taken a step in the right direction, but we still have more to do.

Universities in particular often fall into the trap of using internal jargon in externally-facing content, forgetting that our users lack the familiarity with our own jargon.

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