Here’s some inside information for people thinking of entering the 2022 Plain Language Awards!
However, it’s no secret! The thing the judges are looking for and what excites them the most is to see a document or website that meets the plain language criteria to a very high standard.
When they review the entries, the judges use Submittable — the same platform entrants use to submit their entries. Submittable enables the judges to record their feedback and rate the entries.
Here are the broad ratings they use, starting from the highest rating and moving to the lowest.
Plain language principles are applied consistently and well. We discovered new ideas and strategies from this entry that we want to use in our own work. We want to tell other people about this entry and think readers and users will tell other people too. We can see the positive impact of this entry for the organisation or its customers.
Applies principles consistently and effectively. Changes we might make would fall into the polishing or
nit-picking category. They are unlikely to change the impact of the entry overall. This is a very strong example, but it didn’t inspire us to say ‘Wow! Look at this one!’
Mainly uses plain language principles but misses subtleties and opportunities. The entry may get the point across, but more focus on plain language principles could measurably improve it .
Uses some plain language principles, but misses other critical ones. May misapply or over-apply strategies. The authors would benefit from training and mentoring.
The poor use of plain language principles in this entry interferes with readers’ ability to understand and act on the information. If testing was done, it seems to have had little or no impact on the final version.
You’ll get lots of tips for bringing home a trophy if you read the judges comments and the media releases of previous winners and finalists.
And read one of our earlier blog posts with some useful summaries here: