Use plain language

Check as complete

Plain language benefits everyone on your site, including people with cognitive disabilities and non-native language speakers. Plain language speeds up comprehension, helps people find what they’re looking for and do what they came to do.

Keep the readability of your site around an 8th-grade level

Everyone appreciates content that’s clear and simple. Here are some tips to lower the readability level of your content:

  • Use short sentences: 15-20 words (but be sure to vary the length or your writing will be monotonous)
  • Use short paragraphs: 3-4 sentences
  • Use conversational words (instead of “thus” say “so”)
  • Avoid jargon
  • Limit adjectives and adverbs
  • Read your writing aloud — pretend you’re explaining something to someone you respect who doesn’t know much about the topic (Tip! Use text-to-speech: highlight and right-click to select Speech in the Context menu.)
  • Use an active voice: “Some people navigate with a keyboard” instead of “The keyboard is used to navigate.” The active voice is easier to understand and has a strong, direct, clear tone.

Useful resources:

Test your readable level of your text:

A11y project reference:

A11y project style guide

Back to checklist

Total progress

Congratulations on making the web a more accessible place. Celebrate your work on Twitter.
Celebration horn and streamer emoji
0 / 0
Hide progress
Show progress