Quick Tip: Write for your target audience

As you write, keep your audience’s characteristics in mind and write accordingly. You should write differently for a classroom of first-graders than you would for a committee of post-graduate scholars. In addition, you should consider people’s areas of expertise, even if they have the same level of education. Cultural and gender differences can also play a role in defining a target audience.

EDITOR’S NOTE: The Tip this month is a bit tricky in that for the majority of web content, you don’t really know who will be reading it. While the actual “reading level” of the average American is elusive, estimates are that it is in the 7-8 grade level nationally. What is perhaps more alarming is the fact that literacy rates have dropped over the years despite enormous amounts of money spent on education in this country. A word to the wise – make your content as though you were writing it for people at the local convenience store. I call it “7-11 Language” – or KISS Language. The exception to this rule is if your content is quoted from somewhere else or has the weight of law (e.g., citations from a law or regulation). In this case, the content must be exactly as written by the original author(s).


The monthly Web Accessibility Tip comes from WebAIM and shared to get a wider audience. For more information about web accessibility, please visit the WebAIM website.

See also information about how you can subscribe to the monthly WebAIM Newsletter which contains lots of great information about web accessibility.