Appendix 1: Checklist for creating a document

Inland Revenue Department: Making it easy to comply.

Check box. Have you identified what the purpose of the document is? (What behaviour are you trying to change or encourage?)

Check box. Given that purpose, have you measured, or do you know, what the baseline of current behaviour is?

Check box. Have you identified how you will measure any change in that baseline?

Check box. Have you identified who (as specifically as possible) will be reading or using the document?

Check box. Have you identified in some detail when, where, and how your readers or users need to find or be given the document?

Check box. Given the above, have you thoughtfully designed the document to be most effective for them?

Check box. Have you considered how you can meet the needs of people who are not confident readers of English?

Check box. Have you provided easy-to-access help for the reader or user?

Check box. Does the document comply with established standards for how you present or deliver it?

Check box. Have you tested the document on potential readers or users to make sure that it will be effective?

Check box. Do you have robust internal checks and controls in place to guarantee that the information in your document is complete and correct?

Check box. Have you checked that the document is free of unnecessary information?

Check box. Have you considered where and how people can access supporting or explanatory information?

Check box. Is the main message of the document clear?

Check box. Is the structure logical?

Check box. Do headings guide the reader or user through the document so they don't feel lost or confused?

Check box. Does the document use familiar words?

Check box. Are any unfamiliar or technical words clearly explained?

Check box. Are the sentences mostly short (20 words or fewer) and simple?

Check box. Is the tone right for the type of document?

Check box. Do the paragraphs (or questions on a form) flow easily from one to the next?

Check box. Does the design of the document help to make the content easy to understand? (For example, by making the main points easy to see.)

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