Information that is clear and easy to understand helps everyone to be on the same page, to have the same understanding. This is particularly important when the information you need to know can significantly affect your life – like health, legal and financial information. And this information is often written by experts and for experts to read, using jargon and technical language that most of us don’t understand. So, we did some research to see what plain language information we could find online and came up with some great resources.
General information and news:
- Simple English Wikipedia – Like the general Wikipedia, this online encyclopedia covers a wide range of topics, history, people and facts, but is written in language that is easy to read and understand.
- The Times in Plain English – This online newspaper rewrites articles from other newspapers (mostly the New York Times) into plain English. The articles are mainly focussed on American news, but also cover world news.
- Everyday-Law – Has easy-to-understand legal information on common legal topics. It aims to help people understand their rights and be more confident if they need to use the justice system. The Victorian Law Foundation updates and publishes the site, so there is some information that is specific to Victoria but most of it applies Australia-wide.
- Coleman Greig Lawyers – Based in NSW, this law firm has created a list of plain English answers to common legal questions, both for commercial and personal law.
- MoneySmart – Gives people independent guidance on making the most of your money in an easy-to-understand way. The Australian Securities and Investments Commission runs the website and includes financial information on everything from buying a home to planning for retirement.
- National Adult Literacy Agency – Has published a plain English guide to financial terms. Though this is an Irish organisation, terms like ‘recession’, ‘credit crunch’, ‘guarantee’ and ‘subprime’ are relevant worldwide.
- Better Health Channel – Is a searchable resource of health information, issues and developments in medical research written in an easy-to-understand way. The Victorian Government runs this site, but the information is for everyone.
Breast Cancer Network Australia – Has produced a range of information on breast cancer in plain English. You can read or listen to the documents online or ask for a printed copy to be sent to you.