Plain Language Awards

Celebrate the stories of our clearest business communicators

Judge: Best Plain Language Annual Report

Senior writer, Xero, Wellington, New Zealand

Beverley Stevens is a web writer and editor for Xero’s in-house creative agency, The Hub, and an emerging writer of creative nonfiction essays.

From technical to usable

The desire to make it easier for people to work efficiently led Bev to transition from managing IT systems, through user training and support, to writing documentation. She spent over 10 years as a contractor developing user guides, online help, and business manuals. Then the web came along. At that point, the medium and the tools changed, but the underlying principles still applied — making information easy to find, easy to read, and easy to understand.

Championing plain language

In her role as custodian of Xero marketing writing style and standards, Bev promotes clear, concise, direct language. Her day-to-day involves writing and editing marketing emails, webpages, and reports, as well as maintaining the style guide and templates. In 2022, she led a small team of writers migrating website content with a focus on making it more usable, readable, and accessible. She loves the challenge of communicating key messages simply within strictly limited character counts.

New Zealand Plain Language Awards involvement

Bev has a long history with the Plain Language Awards, and this is her second year judging an award. She was runner-up in the Plain English Champion — Best Individual category in 2008, and a member of the Sorted team who won the award for Best Plain English Website — Public Sector in 2012. And she was delighted to see that Xero’s annual report was a finalist in the 2022 Awards.

Meet the judges for the Plain Language Awards

How the judging process works