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General Services Administration

Plain Writing Act Compliance Report

May 15, 2014


  1. Senior Agency Official for Plain Writing:
    1. Name of Senior Agency Official responsible for Plain Writing
      Denise T. Roth, Deputy Administrator,
    2. Names of Plain Language coordinators within the agency
      Katherine Spivey, Plain Language Launcher, and
  2. Explain what specific types of agency communications have you released by making them available in a format that is consistent with the Plain Writing guidelines.


Type of communications of document or posting. List how this is made available to the public

Who is the intended user and approximate number of potential users

What has changed by using              Plain Writing

Navigator tool

Federal contracting officers

Shorter sentences, consistent descriptions, fewer acronyms

Web pages on

2 million hits/month

Shorter paragraphs, more pronouns, fewer acronyms

Product descriptions for

Federal contracting officers and vendors

Shorter paragraphs, consistent descriptions

National IT Commodity Buy FAQs


More reader-focused descriptions, less jargon, fewer acronyms, clearer instructions

Plain Language audit of Region 8 web pages

@80 pages on

Fewer acronyms, less jargon, more reader-focused description


  1. Inform agency staff of Plain Writing Act’s requirements:
    1. Information on the Act is posted on the agency intranet with shortcut.
    2. Published two article on the Act and its requirements in the internal agency news bulletin, GSA Update and GSA Info

      Plain Language Group on Salesforce Chatter (formed 1/3/2012) @65 members

    3. Posters, signs, etc
  2.  Training
    1. Agency provided the following trainings:

Type of Training

Number of employees trained


In-house training – live (instructor trained by Plain Language Action and Information Network)

Plain Language: Writing for the Web (30)



Social Media: You Still Need Plain Language (253)


Online training



GSA’s Online University

Brownbags/Office Hours/Plainathons/chats







OGP/Policy (2)

ITS Web Writing Principles (10)

Policy Branch/
Schedules (9)

OGP/Policy (2)








  1.  Ongoing compliance/ sustaining change
    1. Name of agency contact for compliance issues: Denise T. Roth
  2.   Agency’s plain writing website
    1. Website address:
  3. Customer Satisfaction Evaluation after Experiencing Plain Writing Communications
  1. In July 2011, we created and posted an email address,, published on our plain language page, In 2013, no one contacted us asking for clarification of any page.
  • We published a feedback tool on’s top 20 pages that asked “Was this page clear?” and provided space for comments. We fed the votes and comments into a Google doc, which we shared with the top 20 pages’ owners. They are reviewing the comments and revising the pages in response to the comments. Many of the comments cover usability issues, not plain language.
    • Met 4/26/2012 to discuss results (10 participants)
    • No meeting in 2013 to discuss feedback. Feedback is more focused on usability rather than plain language: broken links, etc.



Katherine Spivey
(703) 306-6656

plain language, writing for the web,