What is Readability?
Readability refers to how easy it is to read and understand written text. To test the level of readability, you calculate a score using a certain formula. This score translates into an estimated grade level you'd need to understand that particular piece of text.
The MarComm Team considers the Flesch-Kincaid Grade Level and Flesch Reading Ease as the standard formulas for our campus.
According to these formulas, this article has a readability score of 9.9 and a reading ease of 48. You’ll need at least a 9th grade education to easily understand it.
It’s important to address readability because it is one of the criteria for an accessible website. To meet accessibility standards, web content must score at 7-9th grade reading level.
Moreover, highly readable content in the best interest of the audience and makes you a more effective communicator. The benefits of readability include:
- People of all education levels will understand the content more easily
- People who speak English as a second language will understand the content more easily
- People of all abilities (including those with learning disabilities and cognitive disabilities) will understand the content more easily
- It will take people less time to understand your content, making it more likely that they will read all the way through
- Your message will be more persuasive, compelling and informative
How the Web Team Ensures a Readable Website
Departments and the Web Team will collaborate to improve readability levels in web content. We'll focus first on content created for new websites and during web refresh projects.
Testing for readability is now a standard part of the website development process. Clients are encouraged to make their content readable from the early draft stages.
The Web Team will test submitted content to determine the readability score. We will ask for revisions to bring the text into the required 7-9th grade range before the website is published.
The Web Team will also work to improve content on existing websites. We'll prioritize websites that are critical to recruitment and retention. Your web representative will reach out before making any changes to your department website.
It will be a long process but improving readability will be worthwhile in the end. A readable website is a more usable website that communicates better with our audiences.