Step 1: Know your readers and purpose.
- Who are your readers?
- What do they need to know?
- What do you want them to do?
Step 2: Organize. Make an outline.
- Is the most important information first?
- Are sections in logical order? Do headings describe them?
- Do readers know right away what the document's about?
- Can readers find information they need?
Step 3: Write or edit.
- Are the words simple, short, and clear?
- Is there just one idea per sentence? Are sentences short?
- Is the tone positive? Active writing style?
- Are the paragraphs short? With bullets or lists where appropriate?
- Are the extras left out?
Step 4: Design your document.
- Does white space break up the text?
- Is important information highlighted?
- Can people read the style and size of font?
- Do charts, photos or other graphics help?
- Is colour effective?
Step 5: Test and revise.
- Did you get feedback from a sample of your readers?
- Did you read the document out loud?
- Did you do a readability test?
- Did you ask a co-worker or plain language specialist to read your document?
- Did you revise your document based on different tests?