Tuesday, March 15, 2005

"Clear and simple language"

One of the guidelines in the World Wide Web Consortium's Web Content Accessibility Guidelines that I have seen people having the hardest time following is guideline 14, "Ensure that documents are clear and simple so they may be more easily understood."

People seem to miss the idea that if you want people read your web site, the user needs to understand what your talking about.

Jakob Nielsen recently did a study about how users with lower literacy have a hard time with web sites. They don't scan what they read. They read it word for word and often miss the whole "gist" of you are talk about. Simplyfing the wording increases the usability and improves the users understanding of your content.
Lower-literacy users exhibit very different reading behaviors than higher-literacy users: they plow text rather than scan it, and they miss page elements due to a narrower field of view...

The main and most obvious advice is to simplify the text: use text aimed at a 6th grade reading level on the homepage, important category pages, and landing pages. On other pages, use text geared to an 8th grade reading level.

5 Comments:

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