Appendix A: Planning checklist

Questions to ask yourself before you get started

Who is my audience?

  • students
  • the public
  • colleagues

What is their literacy level?

  • low
  • average
  • high

How familiar are they with my topic?

  • they do not know anything about it
  • they have some knowledge
  • they are experts

Why am I writing this document?

  • to instruct (for example, give step-by-step directions)
  • to persuade (for example, to change current behaviour)
  • to inform (for example, to tell them about a new policy, procedure, or service)

What do I need to say?

  • The essentials ______________________________________________________________
  • Nice to know, but not necessary ___________________________________________________

How will I organize the information?

  • most important information first
  • chronological order (for example, step-by-step instructions)
  • another way: ___________________________________________________

How should I present my information?

  • it needs pictures or diagrams
  • it should be large print
  • it needs to be translated
  • it will be digital only
  • there should be a print option
    • flat sheet
    • rack card
    • pamphlet
    • book

For your convenience, you can access a copy of the checklist here: Plain Language – Appendix A Checklist [.pdf]. This will open in a new window.

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