How to join in with Beta

The end is not the end!
Read the Alpha summary and next steps update by Sarah Richards: https://contentdesign.london/research/readability-alpha-the-end/

We're continuing as a Beta until week of 18 December, focusing on finding evidence to answer the readability questions uncovered in Alpha, thinking more on 2 major topics that didn't get a lot of discussion and identifying new topics.

Over to you… Please:

  • follow #ReadabilityGuidelines on Twitter and LinkedIn
  • join the conversation on Slack: https://readabilityguidelines.slack.com – sign up https://bit.ly/2D0OW1F
  • read the wiki pages and Slack channel summaries to find out where we're up to
  • share usability studies and academic research evidence on the topic's wiki discussion page or Slack channel
  • become a super-contributor: research a topic and lead a live 30 minute Slack discussion, you choose when

Readability questions we need evidence for

Abbreviations and acronyms

1. Do abbreviations/acronyms make sentences more or less difficult to read?
2. Can we identify any abbreviations/acronyms that are universally recognised?

Research: from now, Slack: TBC.

Abbreviations and acronyms

Ampersands, capitals, hyphens and dashes

1. Are all screen readers OK with the ampersand symbol?
2. Do ampersands help or hinder readability of navigation, titles and names?
3. Are there screen readers that read out each individual letter of a capped word?
4. Can we gather a comprehensive as possible list of how screen readers read out dashes (and what they do with hyphens?)
5. Can we comprehensively research screen readers with other punctuation that conveys meaning or adds nuance, like brackets?

Research: from now, Slack: week of 12 November.



1. Can we formalise the low literacy primary evidence about positive and possessive contractions into a usability study?
2. Do positive and possessive contractions cause issues for people with dyslexia, poor vision and learning difficulties?

Research: from now, Slack: TBC.



1. Does having a link mid-sentence impair readability?

Research: from now, Slack: week of 19 November.



1. Defining style guidance on numbers, based on Alpha considerations. We will also explore some sub-topics.

Research: from now, Slack: week of 5 November.


Plain English

1. Can we identify some evidence for plain language being more user-friendly? (Very similar to legal language evidence study findings but it would be good to have something more general to point to for stakeholders.)
2. Can we identify evidence for simple sentence construction being more user-friendly?
3. Is there a tool to test a word against reading age 9/low literacy level vocabulary?

Research: from now, Slack: week of 22 October

Plain English
Sentence structure
Sentence length

Specialist terms

1. Is it easier for users with a high level of knowledge of a subject (specialist audiences) to read content that includes specialist terms?

Research: from now, Slack: week of 29 October

Specialist terms

Writing about people

1. Is there any evidence around increased engagement and uptake of services by less advantaged/minority groups when content written in positive inclusive language?
2. Are there any user interviews about how likely people would be to uptake a service/buy a thing/recommend organisation, company or product based on the content language?

Research: from now, Slack: TBC.

Writing about people

Topics for everyone to think more about and discuss further

Use of I/We/You: audience labels
Writing for mobile

The Readability Guidelines project was created by Sarah Richards from Content Design London. It's a collaborative mission – please do join in!

This is the alpha of the readability guidelines.

It's a 12-week project that will end in October, 2018 with a Meetup in London.

We are here to explore:

  • if an open community of content people want to contribute to a single style guide
  • if we'd like to rely on evidence for the style guide elements - and if yes, what evidence would be most useful
  • if a wiki model is sustainable

plus anything else along the way :)

More details can be found at: https://contentdesign.london/blog/usability/readability-guidelines

Its creator is Sarah Richards from Content Design London. Any comments or queries outside of this wiki, please get in touch on twitter @escmum.

This is a totally open project. As long as all participation is respectful and comments are given in the spirit of positive open learning - please dive in!

Active Pages

Until 7pm on 12th September, we will look at:

and go over any of the previous topics to see if there is anything new we can add.

Then we will move on to the other pages:

Until 7pm on 12th September, we looked at:

Until 7pm on 4th September, we looked at:

Until 7pm on 28th August, we looked at:

Until 7pm on 21st August, we looked at:

Until 7pm on 14th August, we looked at:

Until 7pm on 7th August, we looked at:

But you are welcome to dive in to, or create, any pages whenever you like!

Unless otherwise stated, the content of this page is licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 License