Clear language putting readers first


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Clear language putting readers first

  1. 1. Clear Language Put Readers First in your Communications
  2. 2. Icebreaker
  3. 3. Literacy Newfoundland and Labrador <ul><li>Purpose: To advance literacy and lifelong learning. </li></ul><ul><li>   </li></ul><ul><li>How we work: Build cross sector partnerships. Share information and resources. </li></ul><ul><li>Raise public awareness. </li></ul><ul><li>Connect individuals to programs and resources. </li></ul><ul><li>  </li></ul>
  4. 4. Function of Clear Language Workshop: <ul><li>  </li></ul><ul><li>Assess your organizations current communications. </li></ul><ul><li>Improve layout and readability to suit particular audiences. </li></ul><ul><li>Learn to write in a style appropriate for your audience and purpose. </li></ul>
  5. 5. Am I writing for artistic expression? <ul><li>If the answer is “no”, you should focus your efforts on clear and efficient communication </li></ul>
  6. 6. What is Clear Language? <ul><li>The focus is on the reader’s point of view. </li></ul><ul><li>Clear language prevents errors and misunderstandings. </li></ul><ul><li>It promotes inclusion. </li></ul><ul><li>Clear language is not “dumbing down”. </li></ul><ul><li>It is a courtesy as it shows respect for the reader’s time. </li></ul>
  7. 7. Clear language benefits people : <ul><li>With time constraints </li></ul><ul><li>With low levels of literacy </li></ul><ul><li>Learning English as a second language </li></ul><ul><li>With visual and learning disabilities </li></ul>
  8. 8. The Price of Not Writing Clearly <ul><li>Readers are not impressed by writing that is overly complex. </li></ul><ul><li>They may reject the message and the source. </li></ul><ul><li>Writing is a waste of time if the message is not understood. </li></ul>
  9. 9. Audience <ul><li>Who will be reading what you write? </li></ul><ul><li>Why will they be reading it? </li></ul>
  10. 10. Content <ul><li>Will the reader be able to relate to the content? </li></ul><ul><li>Does the document contain all of the necessary information? </li></ul>
  11. 11. Organization <ul><li>The most important information should come first. </li></ul><ul><li>The introduction should provide a context for what follows. </li></ul><ul><li>Information should flow in a logical order. </li></ul><ul><li>Use headings and subheadings. </li></ul><ul><li>Can readers quickly find what they need? </li></ul>
  12. 12. Sentences <ul><li>Keep sentences short and simple. </li></ul><ul><li>Consider using bullets rather than long, rambling paragraphs. </li></ul>
  13. 13. Wording <ul><li>Use concrete wording. </li></ul><ul><li>Explain words that people may not be familiar with. </li></ul><ul><li>Avoid using jargon, acronyms and abbreviations. </li></ul>
  14. 14. Justification <ul><li>Ragged right justification helps readers follow text. </li></ul><ul><li>Full justification creates uneven spaces between words. </li></ul>
  15. 15. Highlighting <ul><li>Use larger fonts and bolding to highlight headings. </li></ul><ul><li>Use boxes to highlight important text. </li></ul>
  16. 16. Fonts <ul><li>Use a 12 point font or larger. </li></ul><ul><li>Use serif fonts for content. </li></ul><ul><li>Use sans serif fonts for headings and captions. </li></ul><ul><li>Avoid decorative fonts. Avoid writing in all upper case letters. </li></ul><ul><li>Use bolding, rather than italics. </li></ul>
  17. 17. Contrast <ul><li>Print is most readable in black and white. </li></ul><ul><li>Restrict coloured text to titles, headings and highlighted items. </li></ul><ul><li>Be sure that text colour contrasts with the background. </li></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>- Black text on white background </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>- White text on a black background </li></ul></ul></ul>
  18. 18. Paper Finish <ul><li>Do not use glossy paper. </li></ul><ul><li>Avoid using watermarks or other background designs. </li></ul>
  19. 19. White Space <ul><li>Leave space between paragraphs. </li></ul><ul><li>Increase line spacing. </li></ul><ul><li>Increase the size of your margins. </li></ul>
  20. 20. Pictures and Illustrations <ul><li>Pictures make the document more attractive. </li></ul><ul><li>Pictures/illustrations support the writers message and provide context to the reader. </li></ul>
  21. 21. Activity <ul><li>A tale of two paragraphs </li></ul>
  22. 22. Readability Tools Gunning fog index <ul><li>Take a passage of about 100 words. Do not omit any sentences. </li></ul><ul><li>Find the average sentence length (divide the number of words by the number of sentences). </li></ul><ul><li>Count words with three or more syllables (complex words). Do not count proper nouns, compound words, or common suffixes such as -es, -ed, or -ing. </li></ul>
  23. 23. <ul><li>Add the average sentence length and the percentage of complex words. </li></ul><ul><li>Multiply the result by 0.4. </li></ul>
  24. 24. Problems with Readability Formulas <ul><li>Tend to result in short, choppy sentences. </li></ul><ul><li>Not all multisyllabic words are difficult. </li></ul><ul><li>A writer should pay attention to content and clarity of message, rather than writing to satisfy the constraints of a mathematical formula. </li></ul>
  25. 25. Activity <ul><li>Writing Analysis </li></ul>
  26. 26. Conclusion