Understandable Solutions

Understandable content is EASY TO UNDERSTAND, with short paragraphs and sentences, no jargon, simple words, plenty of white space, and no ableist language. Practical tips are available below.

Learn More About WCAG and the UNDERSTANDABLE Principle


Clean, concise language is essential for accessibility. The Plain Writing Act of 2010 provides EXCELLENT GUIDANCE on writing cleanly. 


Choosing better language

Avoid the following:

  • Lengthy event explanations
  • Wordy paragraphs
  • Jargon or language above a 5th grade reading level. (even at a university? Yes.)
  • ABLEIST LANGUAGE: any word or phrase that devalues people who have a disability. Though often inadvertent, ableist language suggests that people with disabilities are abnormal.


Create an email or graphic then use a tool to count the words. See if you can reduce the word count by 30% if an email and 20% if other content.

test your writing

Setting a goal of simple writing probably won't be enough to lower the reading level. Test it! Go to this Readability Formulas website, paste a paragraph into the box, then click "Check Text Readability". Simplify, then repeat until at least one of the formulas reads 5th grade or lower.