I think writers should not avoid big words. A teacher once described these as 50 cent words. Meaning you can use an ordinary,well known word or something with more flavour and description but a word people may not see everyday and need to look up in the dictionary.
There are some 50 cent words which I remember hearing from teachers in school. They have stuck with me and pop out in my conversation now and then. Words like obscurity and stifled. I like seeing them used when I am reading something. It shows that the writer has a fairly good vocabulary and isn’t bashful about using some of it.
Yes, communication and having your communication understood is the prime directive. But, many readers are also word lovers. Give them some words to love.