Plain Language Awards

Celebrate the stories of our clearest business communicators

Winner: Best Plain English Website — Public Sector / Non-Government Organisation (NGO) 2015 of Internal Affairs

Judge Rachel McAlpine with Brigitte Birch

Website address

Judges’ comment

The purpose of this site is clear. The site is very easy to use. It’s a great approach to have the citizen-friendly structure as the primary navigation and the more department-focused structure underneath. We can see a lot of research went into this.

In general, you’ve done a great job keeping your content concise and clear. And you’ve done a great job of using lists where you can. Congratulations—nicely done!

You’ve chosen simple and clear words, appropriate to your target audience, and used very few complex terms.

This is an excellent site. It is a model of usability and readability. You’ve taken a logical, consistent approach to structure and style, which makes the site outstanding. Your investment in solid usability testing has paid off.
You might consider (but test) incorporating more NZ culture and tone in some places, and you might consider (but test) incorporating Māori language.

Overall, great job. This was an ambitious project, and you can be proud of the results. Keep up the good work.

Media statement are thrilled to win Best Plain English Website — Public Sector / NGO at the 2015 Plain English Awards.

‘It validates all the hard work our team has put in to making easy to use. A considerable amount of effort goes in to making government language easy to read and understand, and the team thoroughly deserves this recognition,’ says Laura Sommer, Acting General Manager, Government Information Services.

‘Our team are committed to speaking the language of our users. All of the information on our site has been written in plain English and is organised around user’s needs,’ Sommer adds.

The team has been improving the way government interacts with New Zealanders online since the site was launched in July 2014. Information has been pulled together from 44 different agencies and has been written and presented in the way people search for information — not by government structure.

‘We have designed the site so people with low literacy in English can find the information they need. The key principle is that content is easy to find, read, and understand. The user experience is pivotal to everything we do.’