Planning a Plain-Language Website
Users require three things when using a website:
- a logical structure so they know where to look for information,
- an easy-to-use interface to get them to that information,
- and easily-understandable information.
A website needs all these elements (information architecture, usability, and plain language) to be successful.
We offer a brief overview of these three aspects of web design. We want to stress that you need all three aspects for a good, useful site. Think of a three-legged stool, would you want to sit on one missing a leg?You’ll notice that the distinction among these three requirements is not always clear. They all have the same goal – to make sure people can find what they need and use what they find – and they use many of the same principles. All three aspects of good design need you to identify your audience, and some of the requirements for usability and plain language (for example, good navigation and good headings) can be met fairly easily if you already have a logical structure in place for your content.