Language

Overview

Use simple language and formatting, as appropriate for the context.

  • Write in short, clear sentences and paragraphs.
  • Avoid using unnecessarily complex words and phrases.
  • Expand acronyms on first use. For example, Research Excellence Framework (REF).
  • Consider providing a glossary for terms readers may not know.
  • Use list formatting as appropriate.

Acronyms and abbreviations

Bear in mind University style for abbreviations and acronyms – this works alongside digital accessibility practice.

Our other guidance on acronyms and abbreviations explains ways to present them more accessibly online.


Foreign language

If foreign language is used on a page it must be marked up to communicate that to some assistive technologies. You can do this with features built into Word and some instances of Jadu Continuum.

Visit our foreign language page for more information and how-tos on foreign language.


Page actions

Ensure that instructions, guidance, and error messages are clear, easy to understand, and avoid unnecessarily technical language. Describe input requirements, such as date formats.

Good examples of instructions

  • Password should be at least six characters with at least one number (0-9).
  • Enter your date of birth (DD/MM/YYYY)

Poor examples of instructions

  • New password here
  • DoB

Further information

  • Inclusive language guidance: The University’s Equality and Inclusion Unit has advice on inclusive language and links to a range of useful external resources.
  • Leeds University Style Guide:Guidance on making your writing style consistent with everything else published across the University.
  • Plain English Campaign:  Advice on avoiding ‘gobbledygook, jargon and misleading public information’.