Plain Language: Accessible Content for POUR Writers

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Plain Language: Accessible Content for POUR Writers. Accessing Higher Ground #AHG11 November 2011. Angela M. Hooker @ AccessForAll ange la hooker.com. The goal of providing accessible written content can be accomplished by being a POUR writer. Are you a POUR writer?. - PowerPoint PPT Presentation

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Plain Language: Accessible Content for POUR Writers

Plain Language: Accessible Content for POUR Writers

Accessing Higher Ground #AHG11November 2011Angela M. Hooker@AccessForAllangelahooker.com

The goal of providing accessible written content can be accomplished by being a POUR writer.2Plain Language: Accessible Content for POUR Writers / @AccessForAll

Are you a POUR writer?PerceivableOperableUnderstandable Robust

3WCAG 2.0 principles of accessibility:Plain Language: Accessible Content for POUR Writers / @AccessForAll

Are you a POUR writer?Understandable:Information and the operation of user interface must be understandable.

This means that users must be able to understand the information as well as the operation of the user interface (the content or operation cannot be beyond their understanding).4Plain Language: Accessible Content for POUR Writers / @AccessForAll

What is plain language and how can it help fulfill the WCAG 2.0 Understandable requirement?5Plain Language: Accessible Content for POUR Writers / @AccessForAll

Plain language is Plain language is writing that can be understood the first time people read or hear it.6Plain Language: Accessible Content for POUR Writers / @AccessForAll

Plain language is easy to read understandable usable7Plain Language: Accessible Content for POUR Writers / @AccessForAll

Benefits of plain languageYour users wont have to read your content several times to understand it.Your website users can accomplish tasks quickly.

8Plain Language: Accessible Content for POUR Writers / @AccessForAll

Benefits of plain languagePeople will respect your brand, and see your site as authoritative (this is not limited to for-profit sites).It reduces user frustration, because it boosts reading ease.Increases your sites user retention and site loyalty.These benefits can widen your site's appeal, audience, and influence.9Plain Language: Accessible Content for POUR Writers / @AccessForAll

The best benefit of allPlain language provides accessible written content, and supports the goal of providing universal access for all (or as many as possible!).

10Plain Language: Accessible Content for POUR Writers / @AccessForAll

Why is a lot of web content bad?11Plain Language: Accessible Content for POUR Writers / @AccessForAll

The approach is wrong12The wrong people write web content.The institution/powers that be dictate what content goes on the organizations website.People write content without considering their audience.

Plain Language: Accessible Content for POUR Writers / @AccessForAll

Problems with contentIn order to make people understand your organizations materials, and get ones point across, so that everyone knows what one means, its important that one doesnt ramble on and use more words than necessary.(Content is wordy.) Writers use jargon inappropriately.Content is too formal or too friendly.13Plain Language: Accessible Content for POUR Writers / @AccessForAll

Problems with content14Content has grammatical errors.Content has awkward sentence structure.People use slang and/or region or country-centric terms.Content is pedantic.Plain Language: Accessible Content for POUR Writers / @AccessForAll

Writers forget to consider 15People scan content (they dont read it).Its hard to read large blocks of text.There are people with low literacy skills.Some people have low language proficiency.Some people have cognitive impairments.Some people are dyslexic.Plain Language: Accessible Content for POUR Writers / @AccessForAll

People try to justify bad content and avoid plain language16Plain Language: Accessible Content for POUR Writers / @AccessForAll

Dont believe the hype!But 75 percent of _____ users are _____ with an advanced degree!

Did you think about why that may be?

Its not only because those users are interested in specific content, but perhaps the content is written so that theyre the only users who can understand your content.

Frustration = the back button

Remember: Access for all (as many as possible)!17Plain Language: Accessible Content for POUR Writers / @AccessForAll

Dont believe the hype!The content isnt sophisticated or doesnt reflect the gravity of the topic without using these words!

18Plain Language: Accessible Content for POUR Writers / @AccessForAll

Heres what you can do19Plain Language: Accessible Content for POUR Writers / @AccessForAll

Fix the page layoutOrganize content logically.Make sure headings and labels are meaningful and accurately reflect the related content.Break up your content into manageable pieces.20Plain Language: Accessible Content for POUR Writers / @AccessForAll

Format content for easy readingDont use large blocks of italicized text.Use serif fonts sparingly.Dont use full justification.Use sufficient line height.Make sure the line width is optimal (not too wide and not too thin).Use all caps sparingly.

21Plain Language: Accessible Content for POUR Writers / @AccessForAll

Use design to enhance contentUse design elements to enhancerather than to conveyyour message.Dont use complex images and charts to convey main content.Supplement content with illustrations and icons.Use thoughtfully prepared infographics.Dont use distracting elements.22Plain Language: Accessible Content for POUR Writers / @AccessForAll

Use these principlesCompose effective alt text (alt text should not be an afterthought).Write accurate, clear captions.Define acronyms:The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) recommends that all activities 23Plain Language: Accessible Content for POUR Writers / @AccessForAll

Use these principlesAssume that your audience is intelligent, but dont assume that theyre familiar with your topic.Avoid or explain jargon, colloquialisms, puns, country or region-specific terms (when writing for a broad audience), non-literal phrasing.

24Plain Language: Accessible Content for POUR Writers / @AccessForAll

Use these principlesBe sure links make sense out of context.Avoid more and click here as link titles.Write unique link titles.Make sure links reflect their destinations.

25Plain Language: Accessible Content for POUR Writers / @AccessForAll

Use these principlesGive direct instructions.Use positive terms.Avoid double negatives.Use complete sentences.Use proper punctuation.Avoid overusing parenthetical statements.

26Plain Language: Accessible Content for POUR Writers / @AccessForAll

Use these principles27Use the inverted pyramid method (put the most important information and the top and background information below it).Write for the average reader.Write in the active voice.Use simple verb tense and base verbs.Plain Language: Accessible Content for POUR Writers / @AccessForAll

Use these principlesSpeak to your users with personal pronouns.Use must instead of shall for requirements.Use short sentences and sections, bullets, and tables instead of dense content.

28Plain Language: Accessible Content for POUR Writers / @AccessForAll

Use these principlesBe concisecut out excess/filler words.Use familiar words.Use complete sentences.Structure sentences carefullykeep the subject, verb, and object close together; be careful where you place adverbs and adjectives.Organize content to serve your usersnot your organization.29Plain Language: Accessible Content for POUR Writers / @AccessForAll

Test your contentInterview people about your content.Ask users to read portions of your content and explain what they think it means.Conduct usability testing.Ask users to complete tasks based on your written instructions.Use controlled comparative studies.Conduct A/B testing interviews. Provide two versions of your content and track how people react to it.30Plain Language: Accessible Content for POUR Writers / @AccessForAll

Lets see plain language in actionright now!31Plain Language: Accessible Content for POUR Writers / @AccessForAll

Group ExercisesLets do one exercise together: How would you rewrite this courses title?Now, lets separate into small groups.Work with your team to rewrite the sample content.Ill visit each group and help, if needed.Well review the rewrites together.32Plain Language: Accessible Content for POUR Writers / @AccessForAll

At the risk of violating plain language guidelines, I will say that I hope you did POURly on your group exercises.33Plain Language: Accessible Content for POUR Writers / @AccessForAll

Resources: POURWCAG 2.0 Principles of Accessibility: http://www.w3.org/TR/UNDERSTANDING-WCAG20/intro.htmlConstructing a POUR Website: http://webaim.org/articles/pour/34Plain Language: Accessible Content for POUR Writers / @AccessForAll

Resources: Writing ContentContent and Usability: Web Writing: http://www.webcredible.co.uk/user-friendly-resources/web-usability/web-content.shtml

35Plain Language: Accessible Content for POUR Writers / @AccessForAll

Resources: Plain LanguagePlain Language Checklist: http://www.plainlanguage.gov/howto/quickreference/checklist.cfmComprehensive Plain Language Guidelines: http://www.plainlanguage.gov/howto/guidelines/FederalPLGuidelines/FederalPLGuidelines.pdfTest Your Content (methods): http://www.plainlanguage.gov/howto/guidelines/FederalPLGuidelines/testing.cfm36Plain Language: Accessible Content for POUR Writers / @AccessForAll

Resources: WebsitesCenter for Plain Language: http://centerforplainlanguage.orgPlainLanguage.gov: http://www.plainlanguage.govPlain Language Association International: http://www.plainlanguagenetwork.org37Plain Language: Accessible Content for POUR Writers / @AccessForAll

Resources: BooksJanice (Ginny) Redish, Letting Go of the WordsJanice (Ginny) Redish, Writing Web Content that WorksPatricia T. O'Conner, Woe is I: The Grammarphobe's Guide to Better English in Plain EnglishSteve Krug, Rocket Surgery Made EasyJakob Nielsen, Designing Web Usability: The Practice of Simplicity38Plain Language: Accessible Content for POUR Writers / @AccessForAll

Resources: TrainingOnline: http://www.plainlanguage.gov/resources/take_training/index.cfmU.S. federal government agencies can get free plain language classes: http://www.plainlanguage.gov/resources/take_training/freetraining.cfmConferences and events: http://centerforplainlanguage.org/topic/events/39Plain Language: Accessible Content for POUR Writers / @AccessForAll

Thank you!Angela Hooker@AccessForAllange@angelahooker.comangelahooker.com

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Plain Language: Accessible Content for POUR Writers / @AccessForAll

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