2016 English ClearMark Judging Criteria
Understanding audience needs
- Is it clear what the audiences should learn or do using this entry?
- Are the writing, tone and presentation appropriate for the audiences?
- Did you get the sense that the writers genuinely want the audiences who use this product to succeed?
Style or voice
- Do the writers follow plain writing principles? (for example, short-ish sentences with active voice)
- Does the product feel credible and sincere?
- Do the tone, choice of words and conversational style convey respect for the target audience?
- Do they avoid jargon?
Structure and Content
- Are the sections of the product clearly organized and labeled?
- Will the labels help audiences predict what is in each section?
- Do the writers create effective transitions between sentences, paragraphs and sections?
- Is the content presented in an order that tells a story or helps audiences complete a task?
- Do they convey key content while effectively winnowing unnecessary details?
- Do the writers provide relevant information in a balanced way, without overselling or underselling their points?
Information Design and Navigation
- Do the typography, color, and whitespace grab and guide the audiences’ attention?
- Do the layout and presentation make the product easy to scan?
- Can you tell by glancing where the important information or action is?
- (For websites) Does the navigation offer a visible, guided path through the content?
Pictures, Graphics and Charts
- Do the pictures, graphics or charts map to and support the content?
- Will audiences understand the point of the chart or graph?
- Do the visuals help audiences understand important points better or guide them on how to take important steps?
- Conversely: Are the images and graphics included merely as decoration? Or would the product be easier to understand if the writers had chosen more or different graphics?
- Were the evaluation methods appropriate considering who and how many will use the product and its importance to their well-being?
- Were the right evaluation methods (such as surveys, usability tests, or focus groups) used at the right time? Was there an explanation of why those methods of evaluation were chosen?
- Was the evaluation done with representative audiences?
- Were the findings used to shape and improve the final version?
- Will the target audiences be able to find, understand and act confidently using what they learn in this entry?
- Will the product help the authoring organization achieve its business goals (for example, increased customer self-service, enhanced mission, better consumer decisions)?
- Would you use this product as an example of effective plain writing and information design?