Get to know your readers
Your aim is a document planned so you can give the same answer to each of these three questions
* Who is able to read this?
* Who is likely to read this?
* Who needs to read this?
Working with limited funds or public funds, you may try to write for “the widest possible audience“. “Everybody” or “anybody” is a difficult audience. There is no “general public” for plain language writing. Just try to picture a member of the general public. Some probing questions and basic investigation will help you narrow the focus of your project and get your real readers in mind.
You need to explore your intended audiences’ characteristics, needs and expectations. With the information you gather, you can write and design your document to
* reflect the readers’ concerns and daily life
* use familiar words, phrases and ideas
* use an acceptable tone that suits the reader and the message
You want to discover these features of your audience:
age range gender issues
first language family structure
education cultural traditions
reading abilities math abilities
familiarity with the subject matter biases, sensitivities
familiarity with any special language self-image
attitude toward topic motivation
physical, mental or emotional challenges specific interests and concerns