Readability guidelines

A couple of conversations on Twitter and LinkedIn led me to wonder if a universal style guide would be a good idea. Not brand or tone of voice just the mechanics of the language that are usually in style guides. So how to write a date or numerals vs numbers.  But the...

Specifying a reading age for web content

Many organisations have a reading age for their websites and publications. It’s for usability. GOV.UK had a reading age of 9 years old for citizen- and business-facing text and 14 years old for the corporate content (when I was there, they may have changed it now). In...

Word count for web pages

 A lot of organisations specify a word count for web pages. This is supposed to help usability — we know people generally read less online than they do on paper. But word counts are often used as a tool to try to control bad writing, not to promote good content....

Dumbing down

The Oxford English Dictionary says ‘dumbing down’ is: ‘simplified so as to be intellectually undemanding and accessible to a wide audience.’ The most important word in that definition is ‘accessible’. If you make your content easy to read, you aren’t ‘dumbing down’,...