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Readability – Why It’s Important

When we communicate in written form, we can be poignant, expressive, and creative. However, what we can sometimes lose is the clarity of our message, something that can be avoided in an in-person conversation by simply asking for clarification in case something is not understood. In writing, on the other hand, it can be easy to lose your reader since the writer can’t always be sure if the receiving party follows their message or not. This is why checking your text for readability is important if you want to communicate in a way that is easy to understand.  

Readability – what is it? 

The readability of a text determines how easy it is for the reader to understand what they are reading. It is determined by a variety of elements, such as word choice. For example, reaching for an unfamiliar or complex word when a simpler word can suffice can lead to poor readability. Saying someone is “perspicacious” instead of “smart” is a good example. Some other factors that decide a text’s readability is sentence length, structure, and the average syllables per word. When combined, all these factors can help assess whether your text is likely to be easy to read and understand.  

Why is it important?

Trying to have high readability improves the chances that your reader will clearly comprehend what you are trying to say. It diminishes misunderstanding and allows the reader to process information with ease and without much effort. In business, especially in marketing, readability is extremely important since it can affect how engaged your reader is with your content.   

Checking readability

While it is possible to run a mental check of your text for readability while you are writing, this can result in a few issues. First of all, it isn’t easy to ensure that you’re measuring your texts using the same rubric, and second of all, manually processing your text takes quite a bit of time, not to mention energy. The simplest way to determine readability is by utilizing tools that grade your text. A widely accepted formula is the Flesch reading ease test. This test grades the readability of your text on a scale from 1 to 100.  

Readability assessing tool

Many writers depend on the popular tool from Grammarly, which uses a grading scale from 0 to 100. Like a grade in school, the lower score, the lesser the readability, the more difficult it will be for the reader to understand. Therefore, one must aim for as high of a score as possible to assure reader comprehension.  

So next time, before you publish your content or submit your work, it may be worth your while to run it through a readability test to make sure it’s clear, easy to read, and to the point.  

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By Audrey Horwitz

Audrey Horwitz holds a master's degree in communication and a bachelor's degree in business administration. She has worked with numerous companies as a content editor including Speechly, Compusignal, and Wordflow. Audrey is a prolific content writer with hundreds of articles published for Medium, LinkedIn, Scoop.It, and Article Valley.

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