It is important to get feedback from people who are likely to use your document. We often write documents which are more suitable for ourselves than for our readers. Make sure that you test what you write. Always have someone else read and comment on what you write. If you are preparing documents that will be widely circulated, conduct a field test among people who represent your audience. This process will tell you:
Try field testing
Try this:Choose a document or form that already exists in your area. Conduct a mini field test with several of the users of the document. Then, think about how you would revise the document based on the test results. If possible, incorporate your revisions.
Other resources online:The Plain Language Center in British Columbia
Writing that works: Tried and tested
|Q:We don't have time to test... What should we do?|
A:Testing is one of the most ignored areas of plain language. You may not have time to test, however, you should make that decision knowing that the document may not communicate effectively and you may end up spending more money trying to "fix" the communication later. You will get feedback. The issue is whether you want that feedback when you can still do something about it or after it's too late.