Plain Language Standard

Criteria and assessors

The WriteMark assessment questions use internationally recognised criteria for plain language.


The WriteMark criteria were developed from rigorous research and testing. They’ve been used to assess hundreds of documents and webpages.

When your content meets the criteria, it is much more likely to connect with its intended audience, get the results you want, and enhance your reputation.

The WriteMark assessors are expert in all aspects of clear communication. They have extensive experience in applying plain language to different types of content for diverse audiences.

Understand the criteria

To achieve the WriteMark, your document or web content must meet 25 elements in five areas.


The structure must be clear and logical to the intended readers. The headings must be informative and signpost main messages. The purpose must be clear upfront.


The content must support the purpose, be relevant, accurate, and likely to answer readers’ questions. Any graphics and visuals must add value.


The language must be clear and easy to read and absorb, with short and straightforward sentences, precise and familiar words, and a reader-friendly tone. Any jargon, legalese, or technical terms must be explained.

Grammar, proofreading, and style

Grammar, proofreading, and style must be applied consistently and soundly to create error-free content. The content must follow any relevant writing, style, or brand guidelines.

Layout and overall presentation

The layout and presentation must support accessibility and readability with plenty of white space, visual contrast, readable fonts, and good use of colour and other visual elements.

WriteMark Plus adds user-testing

Along with an expert written review, the WriteMark Plus criteria include user-testing with real readers. You’ll apply feedback from testing to get even more reader-focused documents and web content.

Explore Write’s services for document user-testing

Learn about the assessors

WriteMark uses plain language consultants from Write Limited as its accredited assessors. The assessors have extensive experience with the full range of content types from across the private, public, and not-for-profit sectors.

Experienced Write consultants who are leaders in plain language practice oversee the assessments.

Ryan Tippet

Eleanor Meecham

Anne-Marie Chisnall

Lynda Harris

  • Creator of the WriteMark and WriteMark Plus
  • Founder and Chief Executive of Write Limited
  • Member of the International Plain Language Federation working group on standards
  • New Zealand representative of Clarity International
  • Author of Rewrite, a handbook for creating a plain language culture
  • Winner of the Christine Mowat Plain Language Achievement Award in 2015
  • Speaker at international plain language conferences