Almost all scientific and technical subjects can be explained to a lay audience in an engaging manner. The key to success is contextualising the information to make the implications of the information to the reader.
What does that mean exactly?
Chances are, you’ll have been given a particular brief for this piece of writing (perhaps to write a media release to get reporters to pick up our story), or you’ll know what it is you think they should know (you think this new knowledge will have a significant effect on everyday lives). This will of course influence what you say, but whatever your purpose, you will need to consider the reader’s perspective in order to reach them.
To do this effectively, an author needs to have an understanding of two things: the information they are to present and the audience the writing is targeted to.
It sounds tricky, and it is hard to do it well every time, but in this age of information bombardment you must tell the reader why this information is important or interesting to them right up front. Your title and your lead sentence or paragraph will be key in triggering a desire to know more.
The easiest way to decide what will be of relevance to your audience is to imagine explaining it to someone you know. Think of how you’d tell your father, your partner, a scientist in another field, your sister-in-law or someone you met at a dinner party. Who you choose as your audience representative depends of the readership you’re aiming for.
Once you’ve put yourself in their shoes, you can more easily explain the issue in a way that will reach them. Why is your information of interest to them?
Better still, have a conversation with your chosen audience representative and hear what they have to say about the issue. What are the implications for them. Are there are any barriers to understanding?
You’ll gain a much better view of their perspective. And write a much better text as a result.