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Measuring the readability of content (BP)
Can I measure readability? There are stats for that! Use readability statistics to measure the readability of your content and create guidelines for your organization. This helps your content creators produce high-quality content that meets the needs of your digital workplace audience so your employees get the most out of the content available.
Use the following information to understand how you can use readability statistics to create more readable content for your digital workplace audience (employees).
What are readability statistics?
How much effort does it take to understand, consume, and retain a piece of written content? Readability statistics help you determine if your content uses plain language and is easy to understand. Readability statistics assess:
- Average word length (characters per word)
- Average sentence length (words per sentence)
- Average paragraph length (sentences per paragraph)
- Percentage of passive sentences
- Flesch Reading Ease (score out of 100)
- Flesch-Kincaid Grand Level
It's important to remember that readability focuses on how much concentration or energy the reader must use to absorb the information being communicated. Spelling may be correct, grammar may be perfect, but sometimes the information is still hard to understand. This means your audience is spending more trying to figure out what the words actually mean than actually consuming and retaining the information.
Did you know that Microsoft Word offers a readability statistics feature?
Flesch-Kincaid Grade Level
The Flesch-Kincaid Grade Level estimates the education grade level needed to easily understand the content. In the 1970s, the US Navy developed the Flesch-Kincaid readability measurement to ensure written manuals were easy for soldiers to understand even in stressful situations. The lower the grade level, the higher the readability. Aim for a Grade 8 level to ensure readability for a general audience.
Flesch Reading Ease
The Flesch Reading Ease Index calculates a readability score using syllables per word and words per sentences. The higher the score, the easier the content is to read. Aim for a Flesch Reading Ease score of 60 to 70 to ensure readability.
Are there general benchmarks for readability?
Here are some general guidelines to aim for when writing for broad audiences:
- Grade 8 reading level for a broad consumer audience
- Grade 12 reading level for an educated or specialized B2B audience
- Aim for a Grade 8 reading level or less for more accessible content, available to a wider audience
- Aim for a Flesch Reading Ease score of 60 to 70
- Aim for 0 to 3% passive sentences
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