Plain Language Standard

Stand out from the crowd in three easy steps

Image, three pears sitting in a line on a branch

Not a pair — 3 steps to the WriteMark: Image by Shumilov Ludmilla. Unsplash license.

You’ve got sparkling content, you want to show customers that you care about their needs, and you’re ready to wear your heart on your sleeve (or the WriteMark logo on your document).

What do you do?

We’ve made the process for getting the WriteMark straightforward and transparent — as easy as 1-2-3.

Stand out from the crowd in three easy steps WriteMark

First things first

Get in touch and let us know what sort of content you’d like us to assess, and whether it’s one document or webpage, or part of something bigger. We’ll give you a price and a timeframe.

Step 1: Assess the document

Once we have your document, our assessors get to work holding it up against the 28 elements of the WriteMark Standard. These elements fall into 5 categories.

  • Structure
  • Content
  • Language
  • Grammar, proofreading, and style
  • Layout and overall presentation

If you’re applying for the WriteMark Plus, we’ll also look at how you tested your content with readers and any changes you made based on their feedback.

Stand out from the crowd in three easy steps WriteMark

Give your customers the clarity they deserve. Image by David Travis. Unsplash license.

Step 2: Rework if needed

We’ll give you a written assessment. You’ll easily see where your document or digital content has met an element of the WriteMark Standard, and where it might need more work.

If something doesn’t meet the Standard straight away, we’ll explain why and suggest how to fix it. We’ll also give you an idea of the scale of the problem, and explain why it matters.

You can then make the changes, or ask us to.
Here’s an example of what we might suggest to help you improve your sentences to meet the Standard:

We suggest you rewrite some long sentences to make them shorter, clearer, and easier for readers to scan. For example:

Instead of

If any claim under this or any other policy with us is supported by any incorrect, incomplete, or fraudulent information or statement, then your claim is not payable and this policy will be automatically terminated from the date that the information or statement was supplied to us, or the statement or fraudulent claim was made to us. We may also terminate any other policy you have with us at the same time.

(Two sentences: 57 + 15 words)

You could write
If you claim under this policy and give us any incorrect, incomplete, or fraudulent information or statements, we may:

  • refuse your claim
  • end your policy from the date you supplied misleading information or statements
  • end any other policy you have with us.

(One sentence broken into bullet points: 41 words)

Step 3: Reassess the document

We’ll look at your document again, and either award it the WriteMark or let you know where you still need to make changes.

Your trusted advisors

You can ask us questions at any stage. Our team of assessors is here to help — we understand that it’s not always straightforward getting agreement from everyone involved in bringing a piece of writing to life. We’ve learned successful ways to communicate complex terms that at first seem intractable.

Your words are in good hands

Our assessment criteria are based on reader testing, cognitive fluency research, national and international standards, and many years of experience. We work on behalf of readers and in partnership with you.

Wear your heart with pride

After Step 3, you’re ready to tell the world that your document meets the highest standard of clarity and customer care.

Achieving and displaying the WriteMark:

  • shows you value clear communication
  • tells your customers you care about their needs
  • builds goodwill and loyalty
  • sets you apart from your competitors
  • saves you money.

Towards excellence

If you make changes to your content after receiving the WriteMark, you’ll need to check back with us to make sure it still meets the WriteMark Standard. Once you’re in the swing of hitting the clarity standard every time, we can show you even more ways to polish your content to perfection.