Accessibility Focus: How to Improve Your Content’s Readability

Content readability is not just key for accessibility, it's important for search engine optimisation (SEO) too. So keep it in mind when producing content.

Here at Zoonou we’re able to analyse content for its readability based on the Flesch-Kincaid Reading Ease scale.

Initially developed by the U.S. Navy to assess the readability of their technical manuals, the Flesch-Kincaid scale is now used internationally and is also thought to have an important impact on search engine ranking.  More and more, governments and other institutions are ensuring that the written material they produce does not exceed a reading age of 14-15 years and therefore accessible to a large number of people.

With 1 in 10 of the UK population estimated to have dyslexia, we recommend that readability is kept in mind when producing content for your website or application.

1. Use Smaller Sentences

Readers with dyslexia often struggle with lengthy sentences.  It is recommended that sentences are kept short and concise – using a simple subject-verb-object (SVO) sentence structure, an example being “Tim eats pie”.  If your sentence is looking more like a paragraph, attempt to break it down.

Short paragraphs comprising no more than 4 to 5 sentences and bulleted lists can also improve readability.  Since people are more likely to ‘scan’ through content, bulleted lists can be particularly beneficial for any reader.

Additionally, instructions should be broken down step-by-step, regardless of how simple each step may be.

2. Use Words that are Easier to Understand

Simpler, shorter words containing less than four syllables are easier to read and understand. Avoid using complex words.  Using words such as ‘deleterious’ when ‘harmful’ would suffice could confuse your readers and may even result in them giving up on reading your content.

If complex words cannot be avoided, help the reader understand what it means by providing a clear, concise definition.

3. Don’t Abbreviate

Avoiding abbreviations is recommended to benefit all readers, as these require the user to constantly refer back to its meaning, which can prove tiresome.

Abbreviations are only recommended where the longer, unabbreviated form isn’t considered to be readability-friendly. When using abbreviations, writers should give the full long hand version first followed by the abbreviation, such as the World Trade Organisation (WTO).

4. Use Less Jargon

Jargon, defined as “special words or expressions used by a profession or group that are difficult for others to understand” should be avoided at all costs.  Opt for simpler words that can be understood by everybody, this will reduce the chances of your readers losing interest and can help you attract more visitors to your website.

If jargon must be used, provide a definition of the term after having used it for the first time.

5. Ensure Grammar and Spelling is Correct

Poorly constructed sentences may instantly result in a loss of credibility.  Misspelt words may add to the struggles that dyslexic readers encounter.

Why don’t you try to apply some of these suggestions into your own writing and let us know if it helps with the readability of your content!

Keep up to date with the latest news from Zoonou

Get up-to-date information on our business and services by email. You can unsubscribe at anytime, and we will not share your data with any 3rd party marketing organisations. Read our Privacy Notice.

Blog Update Sign Up Form

  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.