Plain Language

Readability Audits of Government Websites with Katherine Spivey

Wednesday, March 11, 2020 2:00 PM – 3:30 PM ET

Hosted by and the Plain Language Community of Practice

Plain Language /

We have a lot of content on government websites. Much of this content would benefit from pruning, if not outright deleting. In this talk, Katherine will show how she did a readability audit on a set of pages, describe the decisions she had to make, and explain unexpected results. As a result, you can decide whether a readability audit might work for your website content (and how or why it might not).


Katherine Spivey serves as Plain Language Launcher at the U.S. General Services Administration (GSA). She is co-chair of the Plain Language Action and Information Network (PLAIN) and provides Plain Language training for DigitalGov University.

At GSA, she is the plain language expert for the Office of Strategic Communication. Previously, she managed web content, coordinated social media, and edited the agency’s Great Government through Technology blog. Before GSA, Katherine was web content manager at the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS), the international law firm Steptoe & Johnson LLP, and the International Association of Chiefs of Police. With an M.A. from University of Virginia and a B.A. from the University of Mary Washington, she has taught at community colleges and at the Amphibious Warfare School in Quantico, Virginia.

This talk is hosted by the Plain Language Community of Practice. Our goal is to promote the use of plain language for all government communications.