Clear language on your website

An accessible website is also one that uses plain language. Your message gets across correctly when you use plain language and clear wording. People read less carefully on a screen and are more easily distracted. This is another reason why it is important to use clear language.

It may moreover be important for a larger group of the population to understand your messages. Think, for example, of low-literate adults or non-native speakers who are just starting to learn English.

What is plain language?

If the layout, structure, sentences and words of your text are clear, then you are using plain language. Readers can then find what they need easily, they understand your texts and can actually do something with the information they find.

With accessible language, you create a win-win situation. You reach a wider audience and your visitors can find easily what they are looking for, thereby increasing the chances of leads.

Tips for plain language

Do you want an accessible website with clear, readable text? These tips from Wablieft, the Flemish centre for plain language, will prove helpful:

  1. Make sure you define the core message and purpose of your text clearly before you start writing.
  2. Determine your target audience and get a picture of their prior knowledge and language level.
  3. Put the most important information first.
  4. Provide one paragraph per topic and use intertitles. Delete all unnecessary information. Write short sentences.
  5. Write active sentences: avoid past participles and write in the present tense as much as possible.
  6. Use short, everyday words and avoid technical terms.
  7. Write as few abbreviations as possible.
  8. Don't use too much imagery.

At DNS Belgium, we follow the guidelines of Wablieft as closely as possible. We moreover immerse staff in 'accessibility thinking' with training by Wablieft.

What about translations?

Our website exists in Dutch, French and English. As far as we know, there is no alternative to Wablieft in French and English. We write all our texts in Dutch strictly in accordance with Wablieft's guidelines. We then make sure that the French and English translations are equally clear.

Another tip to make your website accessible