Tools and tips
- Better Legal Information Handbook, Community Legal Education Ontario (CLEO)
A start-to-finish guide for community workers on planning, preparing and evaluating your PLE written materials. (PDF 1.4 MB)
- Better legal information: the how-to’s of plain language, PLE Learning Exchange. This webinar explores practical techniques to create easy-to-understand legal information for the public. 50 minutes in duration. Presented by Nicole Osbourne James of Community Legal Education Ontario.
- Better legal information: the how-to’s of plain language – the sequel, PLE Learning Exchange. This webinar explores practical techniques to create easy-to-understand legal information for the public. 55 minutes in duration. Presented by Nicole Osbourne James of Community Legal Education Ontario.
- Better Information website, Advice Now (U.K.)
An online tool with information on how to prepare PLE materials. Includes a helpful “Quick Guide” with 21 steps to better information.
- Better Information Handbook, Victoria (Australia) Law Foundation
A start-to-finish guide on planning, preparing, and evaluating your PLE written materials. (PDF 1.38 MB)
- Producing better information for disabled people: A toolkit for local authorities, Office for Disability Issues (UK)
A comprehensive guide to producing better information for people with disabilities (PDF 4.3 MB)
- Access Ability: A Practical Handbook on Accessible Graphic Design, The Association of Registered Graphic Designers of Ontario
A guide to improving the design of printed and web-based informational materials to make them more accessible to people with disabilities. (PDF 790 KB)
- The Essential Plain Language Collection for Legal Aid Agencies, WriteClearly.Org (US)
Plain language samples of tip sheets and information on how to create a readable tip sheet or court form in 6 steps. Also includes information on how to improve website presentation. (PDF 2.2 MB)
- Reaching your readers: A field testing guide for community groups, Legal Services Society (BC)
Tips on planning field testing of PLE publications in your target community. (PDF 1 MB)
- Working with Plain Language: A Training Manual, William H. DuBay, Impact Information Plain Language Services (US)
A guide to closing the literacy gap by assessing how readable your printed informational materials are. (PDF 709 KB)
- Testing plain language texts with adult learners, Debra Isabel Huron (Clarity Magazine, pp.24-27).
This short article addresses how to test printed materials with adult low-literacy learners. (PDF 40 KB)
Plain language and literacy organizations
- Clear Language and Design (CLAD)
This organization provides training and editing services to organizations about clear language writing. Their website contains a free and useful Reading Effectiveness Tool to help you test your printed materials.
- Clarity: An international association promoting plain legal language
This website advocates using plain language in place of legalese and contains links to journal articles on plain language issues.
- PLAIN Language Association International
This international association for plain-language supporters and practitioners promotes clear communication in any language. Their website contains free resources and practical examples to help you begin using plain language in your work.
Information practices from the health sector
This section provides links to materials developed in the health sector to improve communications between medical professionals and patients. They provide some useful tips for plainer communications within the legal field. Stay tuned for our report on parallels between effective communication practices in the health sector and those in the legal sector – to be posted in late 2014.
- A Guide to Creating and Evaluating Patient Materials: Guidelines for Effective Print Communications, MaineHealth
A general guide on developing patient education materials. Includes tips on document design and cultural sensitivity and has useful checklists on pages 4 and 13 in particular. (PDF 2.89 MB)
- Beyond the Brochure: Alternative Approaches to Effective Health Communication AMC Cancer Research Center (US)
Tips on how to adapt existing materials and create new ones. See also their tips on action-oriented exercises (in Section 4 of the guidebook) for ideas on PLE activities for your target community. (PDF 822 KB)
- Clear and Simple: Developing Effective Print Materials for Low-Literate Readers, National Cancer Institute (US) Interesting information on preparing printed materials for people with low-literacy.
- Creating Plain Language Forms for Seniors: A Guide for the Private, Public and Not-for-Profit Sectors, Canadian Public Health Association National Literacy and Health Program.
This guide focuses on preparing forms but contains useful tips on clear language writing in a more general context. (PDF 788 KB)
Let us know what you found helpful on this page.