We know that everyone is going through difficult times due to the spread of the COVID-19 virus around the world. That said, we know that clear communication is as important as ever. Just a few tips about creating content in plain language:
Make sure key ideas are clear and prioritized listing most important information first
Consider the background knowledge of your audience
Make content accessible for a wide audience
Be specific about what you want people to do
Be transparent and admit when you don’t know — and let people know how to get more information or when they will get updates
Explain jargon when it’s necessary. The CDC has created this public health dictionary
Make sure documents have a clear design, including ample white space, clear fonts, and material broken into accessible chunks
Here are some additional materials from the World Health Organization about effective public health communication.
Resources to explain COVID-19 and Public Health
This collection of resources related to the current COVID-19 situation may be helpful to use or reference in your communication. While we do our best to note well-regarded sources, these sources do not replace medical advice. We hope you may find them helpful:
Information from the American Public Health Association Get Ready Campaign: Handouts in English, French, Spanish, and Chinese
Info sheets from the MN Department of Public Health: A variety of resources including 1-pagers in Arabic, Karen, Russian, Spanish, and several other languages
Resources from the Institute for Healthcare Advancement: A variety of resources being collected related to COVID-19
Center for Disease Control COVID-19 Resources: A variety of print materials related to health around COVID-19
Tips from the American Diabetes Association: Video and text explaining the virus and how it may affect people with diabetes
An Easy Read Explanation of COVID-19 from Mencap in the UK: Note that this has a few references to the UK Health System, but the majority of the content explains the virus in easier to understand terms
Another Easy Read version source from EasyRead.info: Basics on what a coronavirus is
From NPR, a comic exploring the coronavirus with kids: A comic that explores what children may be observing and have questions about related to the virus
Need a second pair of eyes to review your COVID-19 content? Contact firstname.lastname@example.org at the Clear Language Lab and we’d be happy to help review related content.
Stay well and we’ll update this page if we get additional resources to check out.