Finance Sector Must Ditch The Jargon

Posted by Paul Crichton on 19 Oct 2016.

Jonathan Fullwood, of the Bank of England’s advanced analytics division, has written about the lack of plain English in the financial sector.

This industry is not famous for clear writing. Jonathan says that this must improve if, “claims of accessibility are to be meaningful.”

Language is by far the most common accessibility issue. It has the biggest impact on the widest number of people.

What difference does the way you write make?

When the Department of Revenue in Washington State rewrote one of its tax letters in plain English, it raised an extra $2 million in revenue.

Don’t think that simplifying language patronises your audience.

Research shows that 80% of people with a high level of literacy still prefer simple English. People prefer to use their brain power on the subject material, not on the words themselves.

But there is more to readability than just the content.

There is a reason that the ‘small print’ is so often ignored by people, and the clue is in the description.

Font size, contrast, line-spacing, even proper capitilisation is important. More than half the people who read your content may have an accessibility need due to age, dyslexia, English being a second language, or one of many other factors.

One definition of plain English is that a person should be able to read and understand an article after a single pass. We've tried to do this here. Why don't you see if this is true of a page on your website?