This Digital Communication Style Guide is to be applied to all content on the My Lived iD digital hub. Its goal is to make My Lived iD’s communication as clear, consistent and accessible as possible.

For AA Accessibility guidelines, we refer to For spelling and pronunciation, we refer to the Macquarie Dictionary. For digital content style guidelines, we refer to the content guide.

Our writing is:

  • clear
  • accessible
  • friendly
  • compassionate
  • inclusive

We serve a diverse, multilingual community with lived experience of a range of physical, intellectual and complex disability. We need to communicate in a plain, consistent and accessible way. To achieve this, we:

  • follow AA Accessibility guidelines
  • use simple words
  • use short, clear sentences and paragraphs
  • avoid jargon, colloquialisms and complex words and phrases
  • use the active voice.

We make our content easier to read and understand by:

  • using informative and logical headings and subheadings to group related paragraphs and clearly define sections on a webpage
  • creating lists
  • writing short paragraphs
  • writing link text so that it describes the content of the link target.

We foster an inclusive environment free from bias and discrimination. This begins with the language we use. We:

  • say 'you' and 'your' when talking to consumers, staff and the community
  • use ‘we’ when referring to My Lived iD as an entity or service
  • use simple contractions like 'you're' or 'you'll'
  • refer to the people we provide care for as ‘consumers’. This includes patients, clients and residents

use respectful, gender-neutral language.

‘Culturally diverse’ is the way we refer to people from culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds.

We respect, welcome and celebrate people of every gender, gender identity, intersex variation and sexual orientation.

Our preferred acronym is LGBTQIA+. It stands for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, intersex, and asexual.

Use gender-neutral terms such as: ‘they’, ‘Supervisor’, ‘firefighter’ and ‘Chairperson’.

Don’t assume pronouns such as ‘him’, ‘her’ or ‘they’ based on someone’s name, title or appearance.

We don’t define people by disability. We take care to focus on the person, not the disability, and use person-first language, not identity-first language.

  • people with disability or person with lived experience of disability [person-first]
  • disabled person [Identity-first]

Avoid using the disability as an adjective that defines the person, unless that is their preference. 

Use the word ‘disability’ as an uncountable noun. An uncountable noun has no plural and only a singular verb. Uncountable nouns don’t need to have a determiner. Whether it has one depends on the meaning of the sentence.

  • Correct: a person with disability
  • Incorrect: a person with a disability

Use capital letters in the same manner as other proper nouns, such as ‘Australian’, ‘Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander’ and ‘Traditional Owners’.

‘Aboriginal’ is the term for Aboriginal people. Use it as an adjective, rather than a noun, e.g. ‘My Lived iD  will support increased wellbeing for Aboriginal people’.

Do not use the term ‘indigenous’ or the abbreviation ‘ATSI’.

A-Z guide to style, punctuation and grammar

For all acronyms, spell the expanded form out fully at first mention, followed by the acronym in brackets; use the acronym only after this, e.g. Intensive Care Unit (ICU).

If an acronym is not widely recognised, use the expanded form.
Do not use full stops in acronyms (ICU) or in abbreviations with all capital letters (NSW, WA).

Use a full stop after abbreviations, e.g. Vic., Tas., ed.). Contractions don’t require a full stop because they end with the last letter of the expanded word, e.g. Qld, Pty, Ltd).

The three most common abbreviations are represented as follows: etc., e.g., and i.e. See Appendix A for a list of common My Lived iD abbreviations, proper nouns and spelling conventions.

Good writing uses an active voice to clearly communicate. When using the active voice the subject performs the action denoted by the verb. Because the subject does or "acts upon" the verb in such sentences, the sentences are said to be in the active voice.

Active voice: Rebecca presented at the RUOK? Day forum. Passive voice: The RUOK? Day forum was presented by Rebecca.

Avoid using ampersands, except where space is limited in a table or a name includes an ampersand.

Apostrophes are used:

  • to show ownership or possession
  • to show joint ownership
  • to show two or more owners of different things
  • in contractions
  • to show plural abbreviations of one letter only.

Don’t use an apostrophe for the possessive pronoun ‘its’, but do use one for the contraction ‘it’s’ (‘it is’).

Don’t use an apostrophe when making an abbreviation plural (TMVs not TMV’s).
When referring to years and decades, use the expanded form, e.g. ‘the 1980s’, not ‘’80s’.

Capital letters should be kept to a minimum. Watch out for capitalisation of common nouns or names; if in doubt, prefer lower case to capitals. Note: ‘Internet’ has a capital letter, ‘web’ does not.

Avoid using all caps for emphasis (e.g. DANGER).
Job titles should be capitalised, e.g. ‘Chief Executive’, ‘Director’.

Professions should be lower case, e.g., dentist, communication advisor, laboratory technician, unless they are used in a person’s title.

The names of organisations and institutions spelled out in full require capitals, e.g. ‘Department of Health’ or ‘Monash University’, but shortened forms used subsequently do not, e.g. ‘the department’, ‘the university’.

Adjectives should not be capitalised e.g. ‘federal’, ‘departmental’.
The word ‘State’ is capitalised when referring to territorial divisions of Australia.

Names of product models and brands take an initial capital (If registered trademarks are written without an initial capital, it may be deemed to infringe the trademark status).

Commas mark a break between different parts of a sentence. They make the sentence clear by grouping and separating words, phrases and clauses.

Use a comma after the following:

  • After a sentence connector (however, therefore, now, etc.)
  • To eliminate ambiguity
  • To separate items in a simple series
  • After a quote where the carrier expression is part of the sentence
  • To separate non-defining clauses or phrases.

An Oxford comma is a comma after the second last item in a list and should only be used if it clarifies the meaning. Avoid using Oxford commas and break up your sentence instead.

Write dates without punctuation, e.g. 6 July, 6 July 2018.

It is not necessary to include the year in the date if the event will or has occurred in the current year. The year should be included when referring to events that occurred in previous years or will occur in future years.

Disease names do not start with initial capitals, unless they contain proper nouns. E.g. hepatitis B, German measles.

Use a full stop at the end of a sentence, as a decimal point and at the end of an abbreviation.

Do not use a full stop between the initials of a person’s name. Ensure there is only one space between a full stop and the next sentence.

Headings and subheadings should be sentence case unless they contain a title or a name.

Short headings should be used to group related paragraphs and clearly describe the sections.

Good headings convey meaning and structure and provide an outline of the content to follow.

Hyphens should be used in compound words to enable the reader to associate words correctly on the first reading (note the different meanings of ‘three-year-old buildings’ vs ‘three year old buildings’).

While hyphens are used for compound words (an easy-to-use power tool), they are not used when the qualifying words follow the noun (a power tool that is easy to use).

When adverbs are combined with adjectives, no hyphen is used (a thoroughly planned project).

Spell ‘cooperate’ and ‘coordinate’ without a hyphen.
Spans of numbers should be written as ‘15 to 20’, not ‘15-20’ or ‘between 15-20’

For every image, write alternative text that clearly describes the information or function of the image.

For purely decorative images, there is no need to write alternative text.

Italics are used for titles of standards, books, magazines, newspapers and TV programs.

Write link text so that it describes the content of the link target.

Avoid using ambiguous link text, such as ‘click here’ or ‘read more’.

Indicate relevant information about the link target, such as document type and size, for example, ‘Proposal Documents (RTF, 20MB)’.

Lists often make content easier to read and understand.

Try to keep lists short and only use one level of nesting.

When we’re writing a single-sentence list, we:

  • start with a stem sentence that all the points have in common
  • start each point in lower case
  • do not use full stops for each point
  • place a full stop after the final point.

Multi sentence lists are introduced by a full sentence.

  • Each point in the list is also a complete sentence.
  • Each point can be 1 to 3 sentences long.
  • Each point begins with a capital letter and ends with a full stop.

We use numbered lists for processes, where steps need to be done in order.

  1. First, you do this.
  2. You do this next.
  3. To finish the process, you do this.

Abbreviated units of measurement do not need a full stop (kg, m, ha) and do not have an ‘s’ in the plural, e.g. ‘10cm’ not ‘10cms’. However, when units are spelled out in full, a plural ‘s’ is required for numbers greater than one, e.g. ‘0.5 metre’, ‘1.5 metres’ etc.

Prefer % to percent or per cent.

Unit names or symbols should not be separated from associated figures by a space (16mm).

Unit names and symbols should not be mixed in the same expression, e.g. ‘km/h’ not ‘km/hour’.

For audio-only content, such a podcast, provide a transcript.

For audio and visual content, such as training videos, also provide captions. Include in the transcripts and captions the spoken information and sounds that are important for understanding the content, for example, ‘door creaks’.

For video transcripts, also include a description of the important visual content, for example ‘Athan leaves the room’.

When introducing a source within a piece of writing, use their full name (e.g. Dr John Smith) first, and then Dr Smith after that.

All sites should be spelled out in full. Monash Medical Centre, not MMC.

Very Important Person (VIP) titles to be spelled out in full for the first mention. e.g., The Honourable David Davis.

Job titles should be capitalised.

Professions should be lower case, e.g., dentist, communication advisor, laboratory technician, unless they are used in a person’s title.

All numbers are written in numerals, unless they are at the beginning of a sentence. This includes to express time, sums of money, weight, distance, measurements, volume, percentages and ages, e.g. ‘6km’, ‘3kg’, ‘$8’, ‘3%’, or in comparative lists or series, e.g. ‘17 apprentices, 10 A-Grade electricians, and 4 engineers’.

Text containing two series of numbers will be easier to read if one series is in numerals and the other in words, e.g. ‘there were six 2kg modules and twelve 9kg modules’.

Four-digit numbers and above require a comma, e.g. ‘4,587’.

Avoid starting a sentence with a numeral. Either spell them out or restructure the sentence.

For decimal fractions, make sure there is a 0 in front of the decimal point, e.g. ‘0.25’, not ‘.25’.

Units of currency: $USD or $AUD (for comparative reference); $15 (single stroke through ‘S’); 50c (no stroke through ‘c’).

Companies and organisations are single entities that take a singular verb, e.g. ‘Monash Health is the largest health service in Victoria’, not ‘Monash Health are the largest health service in Victoria’.

Generally, prefer the first spelling in the Macquarie Dictionary. Use Australian spellings over American spellings (e.g., organise not organize; colour not color).

Underlining should only be used where text is hyperlinked.

Underlining should never be used in headings or subheadings. Use bold instead.

All quotes must be attributed to a person.

Use double quotation marks for all passages of direct speech. Use single quotation marks inside double and for terminology, e.g. ‘best-of-class’.

2.30-3.30pm not 2.30pm-3.30pm. 2pm not 2.00pm.

Web and email addresses should only be underlined when they are a hyperlink.

There should be no full stop at the end of a web address that is at the end of a sentence.

Include the full address for web addresses. e.g.:

If linking to a longer more complex address, use a clear description for the link, e.g. ‘read more about our recycling policy”. Do not use ‘click here’.

Contact us

If you have any questions or feedback about this Style Guide, please contact


Elements of this style guide have been adapted from the Content Guide and Style and Design Guide under Creative Commons CC-BY 4.0 licences.

Appendix A: Glossary of common abbreviations, proper nouns and spelling conventions

CDDH             Centre for Developmental Disability Health

CID                  Council for Intellectual Disability

FPDN              First Peoples Disability Network

LGBTQIA+    Lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, intersex, asexual

Easy Read

My Lived iD, not My Lived ID or MyLivediD

COVID-19, not Covid-19 or covid-19

health care (noun); healthcare (adjective)