It's an election year here in the USA, and the only thing the presidential candidates agree on is that the federal government needs to become much more efficient. They're all promising to make it happen, but so far nobody's promised to improve the way the feds communicate with the public.
Maybe they think the problem was solved when President Obama signed the Plain Writing Act into law in October of 2010. The Act required federal agencies "…to write all new publications, forms and publicly distributed documents in a clear, concise, well-organized manner." But although it's been the law of the land for over five years now, the Plain Writing Act hasn't really improved the agencies' ability to communicate with the public they serve. People are still confused by the letters, notices and forms they receive from the government, and they still get lost and frustrated when they seek information on agency web sites.
Why hasn't the Plain Writing Act worked well? Given the problems inherent in the Act, we might do better to ask why it's worked at all. Let's look at three of the biggest reasons for its poor performance.
With these problems, it's not surprising that most agencies haven't made much progress towards plain writing. Get our free paper, 'Do You Need a Corporate Content Standard?' to find out what they need to do to be successful.