Content governance includes plain language. You can use readability scores as part of your assessments but they’re not enough. You also need to use user tests and comprehension tests. You need to include audits for fairness and transparency.

How to tell if content is clear: plain-language assessment

Most of us know that clear communication (or plain language) is needed. But there is less agreement on what makes language clear. What does clear communication look like? How do you know if your content complies with the many laws and regulations that require clarity? How do you set up a plain-language assessment that works?

Key points of this overview:

To comply with laws and regulations that mandate plain language, you need to find a way of assessing whether content is clear. Readability formulas aren’t fit for purpose. We suggest that you use reader-focused testing instead, and measure results against an established standard for plain language. Pay attention to the ‘why’ of plain language. Ty to set up creative ways to measure the  clarity of communication in terms of strategic goals such as fairness and transparency.

Read more in our white paper on plain-language assessments.

Clear communication in business

Simplified has helped remarkable companies to put in place programmes that simplify communications and transform complexity into clarity ‒ all with the overall purpose of improving customer experience and treating customers fairly. Here are seven factors that  predict success in clear communication in business – these apply equally well to a small plain English rewrite and an enterprise-wide clear communications programme.

Read more

Making communications smarter (Financial Conduct Authority)

The Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) has asked financial services firms to write for the consumer first rather than adopt a tick-box approach.

In a recent FCA Discussion Paper, the Financial Conduct Authority reiterates its expectation that firms:

  • understand and recognise the importance of communicating effectively with consumers
  • create product and service information for consumers with at least as much behaviourally informed creativity as is applied to business development, marketing and financial promotions
  • create communications as an integral part of the product or service design process’

We support this move from a compliance to a customer focus, and also recognise just how difficult this process can be − both for start-ups and traditional financial services firms. We help our clients adopt long-term improvements as well as quick-wins to each of the focus areas highlighted by the Financial Services Authority:

  • presentation of terms and conditions
  • disclosure of fees and charges
  • helping consumers direct queries to the relevant part of a firm quickly and easily
  • raising consumer awareness of the Financial Ombudsman Service and the cover offered by the Financial Services Compensation Scheme for specific products or services
  • common terminology in the general insurance sector
  • complexity of information provided to consumers at retirement
  • transparency around the scope and cost of an investment advice service