Photo: Rob Suisted
We all “know” the benefits of plain language. Through the years, we have experienced that plain language can save time and money, and make the users satisfied. But can we prove it? One of the challenges of plain language work has traditionally been to document the concrete results. We all know that plain language is effective and user friendly, but can we actually measure the effects? Can we get the evidence in numbers and figures? And can we use the evidence to convince managers to see the importance of plain language work? In Norway we wanted to explore this, and we have encouraged public agencies and ministries to measure the effects of their plain language work. In my presentation, I will describe the different ways some of the agencies have worked, how they measured, and the results they achieved. You will for instance learn about one municipality that saved money in elderly care, after changing the language in one letter. Another government agency could document a positive change of culture inside the agency, after measuring results due to plain language work.