To understand Readability, you first have to understand eye movements, perception, and visibility.
Readability is making it easier for a reader to comprehend the written text.
Readability is not only the legibility of the written word but how easy it is to read especially for those with average or low reading comprehension.
Remembering that your content is not only for the intellectual percentage of your audience but for the whole spectrum, and having a good readability level can mean the difference between a successful article and one that attracts very little response.
Plan Your Content in Sections.
Planning out the layout of your content will lead to a more meaningful user experience for the reader to scan.
By nature, people will scan over an article to find the answer they are looking for, and they do this by implementing the F mold, starting from left to right and back to the left.
At his stage, they are just passive readers until something jumps out at them and they then become active readers.
So it is important that you plan out your content in sections to make it easier for them to scan.
Always start with a compelling Title, and then break up the rest of your content into sections using Subheadings, finishing off with a conclusion of what you are trying to achieve.
Use Descriptive Subheadings
Using expressive subheadings gives your readers a point of reference, which makes it less demanding to examine the content in full to discover the purpose of their search.
Ensure that your subheadings depict the substance in the following content and in addition describes the fundamental point contained in the segment beneath.
Headings should always stand out from the rest of your article for easy access and therefore should always be highlighted in H2, H3, or H4 tags. H1 tags are only used for page/post titles.
The Use Of Images to Break up Text
The internet is an abundance of information and no more so than when we search for a particular topic and given information overload.
For that reason, you will normally find yourself looking for the data you want with as little effort as possible.
Which again refers back to the F scan.
To overcome this within your long article, images, infographics or even videos play a vital role in keeping your visitors interest.
Visuals allow a reader to digest the information a lot quicker than a page full of text.
They also have a point of rest for their eyes as they try to take in the written word.
Your audience will contain people with impaired vision and the use of screen readers so again it is important not to forget to help them understand what the visual is all about by adding “Alt text” and description to all your images.
Don’t Overload Information
It is commonly thought that an article posted to a website should typically be between 1000 and 1500 words for good SEO.
But if the information you are giving your reader can be transferred in less than that, then your reader is more likely to thank you for that.
Filling a post to achieve the word count will only be a distraction to the reader, by having to wade through a load of waffle that more than likely has nothing to do with their search.
Make your writing straight to the point with a captivating headline, laying out what the problem is and then supporting your answer with relevant evidence.
Write at Secondary School Level
Because a piece of work is Legible, doesn’t mean that it is has a good readability score.
A good yardstick to your readability would be being able to be read by children aged 12 to 14.
By writing to this level you will reach a much wider audience.
Testing the readability of your article can be done by using a readability score software, although the most commonly used one is the Flesch-Kincaid formula.
This tool uses equations to establish the ease of reading.
This is used by most experts and is recommended to give the best outcome.
Use Legible Fonts and Sizes
It is a common trait to use Italic fonts to give some emphasis to a phrase, but to some people, particularly dyslexics, they become hard to read.
Emphasis should be highlighted with bolding instead.
When choosing a font, make it simple.
Fonts that separate each letter legibly are far easier on the eyes that decorative or slanted fonts.
Our eyes pick up groups of letters that then make up single words, so the easier it is to recognise a letter speedily makes for good readability.
Capital letters should also be avoided where possible and ideally should only be used for Titles and Headlines.
The size of the font you use should be another area where you should pay particular attention.
You have to remember that your work is going to be viewed on different screen sizes, ie: Laptop, Tablet, and Mobile phone, so make sure the font size is large enough to be read easily on any device.
Although there isn’t a definitive size to use, anywhere between 12 and 16 is generally a good benchmark.
Give Plenty Of White Space
White space is as important to the reader as the size of the font.
If your text is packed closely together not only is it difficult to read it is also very tiring on the eyes.
This would also be true for sentences and paragraphs.
Shorter sentences and paragraphs hold the readers’ attention much longer than a block of text that is, say, 10 lines long.
Try to keep your paragraphs to a maximum of around 150 words, before starting a new line.
Making your content Printer Friendly is a great help for those visually impaired readers.
You will find that some people have a problem when it comes to reading text on a screen because of the constant refresh, which can cause eye strain to these people.
Being able to print the content gives them a more stable image to digest.
Just as the size of text used in content is important for readability so too is the contrast of color to the background.
Using a light color text on a dark background could be almost impossible for the reader to comprehend, especially on a mobile device.
Always make it easy to read by using a dark color on a light background and to state the obvious, Black on White is the best option.
This video gives a very good explanation of how to improve your content’s readability.
I hope this Part 10 Readability has given you an insight of how to go about making your website an easy read for your readers
If you have any comments about this or any other part of this series please leave them in the box below.