Do You Test for Readability?

Testing for readability is one of the marks of professionalism.

Maybe I’m just on my soapbox again, but one of the problems I see increasingly these days is serious errors in grammar spelling, and punctuation.  I am not a perfectionist, and my writing is not always perfect either.  But some of the web content these days just gives me a headache!

  • Things like:
    • “Always you should stop not you are doing what and think of more it.”
    • “Do want you to more than a man…”
    • “Safe fails not on to  time…”

OK, to be fair, I realize not everyone is native to the English language.  Especially as spoken here in the US.  And NO, I don’t think we are superior to the rest of the world here, or that we are somehow special and should be treated as such.

My contention is; don’t try to create content in English unless you are a native of an English speaking country, or you are VERY fluent in our language.  That’s the reason why I don’t create content for Mandarin Chinese readers, or for those who speak Pashto, etc.  I would sound like a fool even with the best translation programs.

What difference does it make?

  1. Probably none if you are just blogging your thoughts for a few people like friends and family to read.
  2. Somewhat important if you would like to get your ideas across clearly and concisely.
  3. Critically important if you want to be taken seriously.

What to do?

There are any number of free tools online that you can use to improve your writing skills.

  1.  Everyone should be using at least the free version of this app.  And if you invite friends and contacts to try the Grammarly app, you can even get access to the upgraded version.
  2. Readability WebpageFx provides a very handy tool for checking the readability of your text. You can either enter the url of an article you have already published, someone else has published (for comparison to your own writing) or you can copy and paste the text you want to check directly into the entry field of the website.
  3. WordWeb  Wordweb provides a “one-click English Dictionary and Thesaurus for Windows.  Dictionary apps for mobiles, tablets and Mac desktop.”  I find this handy little app extremely helpful, especially when I get stuck for a word.

There are plenty of other free resources.  These are my favorites.  Remember, if you want to be taken seriously, you have to communicate well.