NDEP Plain Language
About the NDEP Plain Language Icon
Any materials on the Find Resources page that display the "Reviewed for Plain Language Principles" icon (pictured below) have been reviewed for plain language, health literacy, and health numeracy principles.
The NDEP Plain Language Approach
The NDEP's approach to apply principles of plain language in the development of materials include the following steps:
- Materials Assessment - NDEP uses the Suitability Assessment of Materials (SAM) tool to evaluate materials. The SAM tool helps rate how hard it is to read words and understand their meaning based on the following criteria:
- Content - Materials have a clear purpose and focus on behaviors that support the objectives of the piece and that the reader can accomplish.
- Literacy Demand - Materials follow plain language principles and the reading level matches the reading skill level of the target audience.
- Graphics and Layout - Graphics and images communicate the main messages or purpose of the content. Fonts are clear and consistent.
- Learning Stimulation and Motivation - Content is meaningful and appealing to the reader. Specific behaviors that audience members can perform are suggested.
- Cultural Appropriateness - Cultural context and concept association are used to make messages relevant, understandable, and meaningful to the audience. When appropriate, NDEP materials are tailored for different ethnic populations and messages are matched to the audience, language, experience, and cultural beliefs of the target audience. Materials use positive and culturally diverse images and symbols.
- Health Numeracy Assessment - NDEP reviews content to find ways to limit or simplify numeric concepts.
- Technical Review - NDEP shares draft materials with subject matter experts who verify the accuracy of scientific information and behavior change messages.
- Readability Testing - NDEP uses the Fry and SMOG readability formulas to assess reading levels of materials.
- Field/Audience Testing - NDEP pretests content, images, and layout of each publication with members of the intended audience.
- Clear Communication: A NIH Health Literacy Initiative (National Institutes of Health).
- Health Literacy Guidance and Standards (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention).
- How to Write Easy-to-Read Health Materials (US National Library of Medicine).