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Accessible Writing Style

It is important that writers consider their audience when creating their text. In light of this, writers should think about how they will adopt an accessible writing style. If writers use an accessible style, the writer can ensure that the text reaches as wide an audience as possible.

Tips for Accessible Writing

First of all, think about how you can increase the readability score of your text. A high score can help open your work to a wider audience. With this in mind, use one of the many tools available to writers. For example, Microsoft Word features a readability tool that is part of the grammar and spelling checker. In addition, writers may share their writing with peers who can give feedback on language and readability. Peer editing can help writers learn to be more aware of the style they use and also make some changes on their own.

If you find that your readability, passive voice, or difficulty level isn’t where you would like it to be, you may need to make revisions. However, for writers who are unsure of what to revise, there are tools that highlight passive voice, complicated sentences, and difficult word choices. Follow the advice of these tools to create a more accessible writing style.

In general, there are a few tips to follow whenever you are writing for a wide audience.

General writing

  • Use as few adverbs as possible
  • Avoid or lessen use of the passive voice
  • Keep sentences short, 20 words or less
  • Use simple words, 1-2 syllables are best
  • Avoid use of semicolons by making two simple, shorter sentences
  • Use exclamation marks, question marks, and transition words to emphasize content, instead of the following methods that some screen readers do not note:
    • Bold
    • Italics
    • Colour
    • Strikethrough
    • Underlines

Readability

  • Aim for a readability grade level of lower than 10th grade
  • Aim for a readability score of higher than 50%

Page organization

  • Use headings and subheadings to separate and describe content
  • Include introductions and conclusions to help readers follow content
  • Use lists whenever possible, with bullets or numbered items
  • Try to avoid using tables

Photos, videos, and audio components

  • Include descriptive captions for all photos or videos, if you feel the need to include them
  • Include closed captions for all audio or video components
  • Have transcripts available on request

Review your writing

Additionally, writers must be aware that spelling errors will be distracting, especially to people who use screen readers. Peer editing, self-review, and the use of spelling and grammar-checking software, such as spell-check, is vital.

Writing for All Readers

To conclude, writing with clarity and simplicity will help reach a wider range of readers. Ensure your writing gets the audience it deserves. Embrace an accessible writing style today.