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Writing inclusively

When writing for the IU brand, be intentional about making your content inclusive and accessible. We want everyone to feel welcome and appreciated here—and that starts with choosing the right words.

Inclusivity starts with you

People from all backgrounds, and from across the world, interact with our content. Our audiences are made up of individuals of different abilities, ages, races, ethnicities, genders, and sexual identities.

It is those very differences that make us stronger. And being aware of those differences in your writing will make the IU brand more accessible and inclusive.

Here’s how to write accessible, inclusive content

Keep these considerations in mind when developing messaging, in order to be more inclusive:

  1. Be sensitive

    Avoid idioms, phrases, cultural expressions, or colloquialisms that might be offensive or misinterpreted. 

    Example: don’t use the word “spaz” when you could say “uncontrolled.”

  2. Be accessible

    We speak to different audiences, but we do not discriminate on the basis of disability. You want to remove barriers to entry with your writing. Part of that is about being descriptive, precise, and meaningful when communicating.  

    Example: you could say “play video” instead of “watch video.” This precise language accounts for the different ways in which your video might be consumed.

  3. Avoid gender-skewed language

    Use terms that are gender-neutral rather than those that appear to favor or speak to a single gender. 

    Example: instead of saying “manpower,” you could say “labor” or “resources.”

  4. Avoid unnecessary expressions of violence

    Don’t use idioms or phrases that either literally or figuratively suggest violence when there are innocuous ways to express the same thing. 

    Example: don’t say “there’s more than one way to skin a cat” when you could simply say “there’s more than one way to get the job done.”

  5. Be careful with jargon

    In most cases, writing in plain language is better. If anyone in your audience might not understand your internal language, acronyms, or jargon, that’s enough of a reason not to use it. Be clear, and give your audience the context they need. 

    Example: don’t use TOTF to signify top-of-the-funnel unless you know your audience is familiar with the acronym. Furthermore, if you use top-of-the-funnel, make sure your audience either knows what it means, or that you’re providing a sufficient explanation.

Resources on accessibility