Content Design London

Readability guidelines alpha update

Published 7 August 2018, by Sarah Winters in Content Process Reading Research Usability.

It’s been just over 2 weeks since we published the readability guidelines wiki. If this is new news to you, this full blog post explains what is going on:

In that time, we’ve:

  • had 153 people (and counting) sign up to the Slack channel,
  • shared 20 style guides,
  • started collecting evidence from around the world.

Week 1: getting started

At first, the project seemed a little too big to dive in to so I asked the Slack channel if they wanted to contain it a bit more. We decided that we would focus on 2 topics per week.

To keep everything tidy, John Musci kindly added a discussion tab to the wiki. That way we can keep the chat tied to the style points we are talking about and not lose valuable points in Slack.

Week 2: ampersands and contractions

In the past week, we have discussed ampersands. We’ve found that some people with reading challenges or those who have English as a second language can struggle. We’ve also discussed how the coding of ampersands can get corrupted so some screenreaders can get the symbol wrong.

A blog post by @jo_scho found that contractions, particularly negative contractions, are harder for some to understand. Full blog post

Outcome of week 2

We had a Slack conversation 7pm (UK time) on Tuesday 7th August and we have decided we will include different languages in this next period. At first, I thought keeping it to English would make the project much easier but I found we might have been missing important comments. So for the next week, please comment on how it works in multiple languages and the impact style choices have on translations.

We also had quite the discussion on what constitutes evidence and what we – or our stakeholders – would trust. We are testing that out over the next couple of weeks so if you can ask your stakeholders – particularly the tricky ones if possible! – what they would and would not accept as evidence, that would be really helpful.

Week 3: numbers and sentence length

So we are now focussing on numbers and sentence length for the next week.

Then we will discuss in Slack at 7pm on 14th August.

If you have any evidence or studies you can share, any accessibility considerations or comments that would help, please get involved!

Get involved

Wiki link:
Numbers: Sentence length:
Slack link:

Code to join the slack channel (can be used until 13 Aug)…

Note about the email sent on Tuesday, 7th August

So we sent an email out before the end of the Slack discussion. I was trying to be prepared. It’s a learning point for me not to do that as there’s more in this blog post than the email. Bear with me. I’m learning.

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