19 Aug Australian Tax Office Easy Read Project
The Reading Writing Hotline has been working with the ATO to share ideas on making materials more accessible for people with a range of reading and writing levels, and to provide feedback in their Digital Inclusion Guide. As we know, writing in Easy English is appreciated by everyone. Here is some information about the Easy Read project. It is encouraging to hear that such a large government organisation is embarking on this important project.
The ATO is developing a suite of easier to read content as a way to expand our reach in the community and help taxpayers understand their obligations.
We know that 44% of Australians have low English literacy skills. While Easy Read was originally developed to support people with intellectual disability, we recognised its potential value in supporting our diverse community of taxpayers.
Easy Read is a way of presenting written information using clear, everyday language matched with images to help the reader understand the content. The documents provide key points without overwhelming the reader.
The text is drafted by our in-house trained Easy Read writer. Drafts are refined through review and feedback by an accessibility specialist, an educational psychologist and our graphic designers.
Our first products were reviewed by Easy Read industry experts to help us hone our style and ensure we were meeting the objectives and standards. The most recent product was also tested in a small focus group of people with a learning disability to make sure that it met their needs by being easy to read, understand, and act on.
To date we have produced five Easy Read products. We have been strategic in our approach, focussing on products that will be helpful to our wider audience, and that provide clear simple information for people who are potentially vulnerable or overwhelmed. You can find them at www.ato.gov.au/EasyRead