Plain Language

Plain Language Summit 2019

Sep 5, 2019

A day of talks and conversations on how to advance plain language in government communications, hosted by the federal Plain Language community of practice. Read »

Plain Language Summit 2019

Managing Your Plain Language Career

Mar 13, 2019

We'll discuss how to document and publicize your formal and informal plain language work — teaching, training, reviewing, or copyediting. Read »

Managing Your Plain Language Career

December PLAIN Meeting and Holiday Gathering

Dec 12, 2018

Join us for our traditional winter finger-food potluck where we’ll discuss the Clarity 2018 conference and plan out our 2019 meetings. Read »

December PLAIN Meeting and Holiday Gathering

Responding to the Federal Plain Language Report Card

Nov 14, 2018

We will discuss the Federal Plain Language Report Card and how to address the issues the report card brings up. Read »

Plain Language Summit 2018

Jul 20, 2018

The federal Plain Language community is holding their first all-day summit in Washington D.C., and you’re invited! Read »

Plain Language Summit 2018

A Conversation With ITIF About the State of Federal Government Websites

Sep 20, 2017 |

Since it’s been nearly six months since their report was released, we wanted to check in with ITIF and see what they’ve learned, what they’ve heard from agencies and what their future plans are to build on this research. Read »

A Conversation With ITIF About the State of Federal Government Websites

Webinar Recap: Plain Language Action and Information Network (PLAIN) June Meeting

Jun 30, 2017 |

This month’s Plain Language of Community Practice meeting featured Katherine Spivey’s presentation, Plain Language Spectrum: Every Step Counts! In this highly useful DigitalGov University (DGU) webinar, she explains how you can move forward with plain language even when you don’t have permission to edit copy, followed by a half hour Q & A session. Many Read »

The New FEC.gov

Jun 6, 2017 | ,

Last week, the Federal Election Commission (FEC) unveiled their new website at FEC.gov. This new site is the result of a years-long collaboration with GSA’s 18F and features completely revamped tools for exploring campaign finance data. It provides user-centered content for understanding the reporting and compliance requirements for people participating in federal elections, redesigned tools Read »

New ITIF Report Inspires a Closer Look at Website Performance and Security—Here Is Where to Begin

Mar 24, 2017 |

The Information Technology & Innovation Foundation (ITIF) recently published a report, Benchmarking U.S. Government Websites, that looks at the performance, security, and accessibility of the top 297 government websites. ITIF is a think tank in Washington, D.C. whose mission is to formulate, evaluate, and promote policy solutions that accelerate innovation in technology and public policy. Read »

Writing for the Web Is Easy. Writing for Users Is Not.

Nov 7, 2016 | , ,

We all do it. Whether on Twitter, Facebook, or the comment section on a news article, it’s easy to get our writing on the internet. Many of us have personal websites or contribute to blogs. We work at organizations with content management systems that allow us to publish pages with a single button click. The Read »

Using Plain Language to Bridge the Gap Between Government and Industry

Jun 23, 2016 |

Much of our work with government partners to deliver better digital services has resulted in full websites, applications, and embarking on large-scale transformation efforts. In addition to those types of projects, we also work on shorter, faster, smaller-scale projects designed to show our partners different points of view and different techniques to approach their most Read »

Putting Your Main Message First

Feb 12, 2016 |

Want to learn how to clearly communicate your message? Watch the new “Put Your Main Message First” video from U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). Created by USCIS’ Office of Communications, the video teaches you about the importance of organizing your information so that your audience understands your key messages. “It’s common in government writing Read »

Good Content Needs Plain Language

Dec 23, 2015 |

If good content is essential to good user experience, as Tyrus Manuel proposes in his November 23, 2015, DigitalGov post, then plain language is also part of good user experience. Plain language helps the public do what they need to do—find forms, apply for benefits, look up information and more—when they use federal websites and other Read »

Getting Serious About Good Writing—EIA’s Write Right Curriculum

Dec 11, 2015 |

Let’s see–you want to improve the skills of your agency’s writers. Here’s a to-do list: Enlist a high-level champion, ideally your agency head, to make statements saying writing skills are critical—check. Create a Writing Style Guide—check. Hold classes to introduce the Style Guide—check. Expand internal editing resources—check. But what’s next? If you really want to Read »

Roadmap for Creating a Writing Style Guide: One Step at a Time

Nov 20, 2015 |

So, you’re tired of seeing little (or big!) errors on your agency’s website, and you flinch at the random writing styles. You feel like your agency’s content is good, but there are still too many inconsistencies. What you need is an agency Writing Style Guide. A good guide can set styles that improve your agency’s Read »