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This past Saturday, Buffy Hamilton sent me the link to Seth Godin’s new post, “The future of the library” as well as some reaction blog posts. (I’ve put the links at the bottom of this post.) It’s the opening line that really started the ball rolling on this post and has lead me to take issue with Mr. Godin’s post (hereafter quoted in blue).
Recently I’ve been working on a Social Media Marketing e-book and a friend who’s editing it sent it back with an important comment – not everyone will be able to understand it at its current level of readability, otherwise known as the level of education required for people to understand the text. As soon as my friend made this comment, I realized I hadn’t thought about my audience’s reading level for years, since I first started writing professionally. While most of us take into consideration the audience for whom we’re writing, e.g. moms, teens, technopiles, etc, we forget that any writing we do geared towards the general public should be readable by everyone. A couple sites like http://www.addedbytes.com/readability/ and http://www.criticsrant.com/bb/reading_level.aspx offer excellent tools for finding out the readability of your blog or web content. Added Bytes uses these specific methods of scoring: Flesch-Kincaid Reading Ease ( Wikipedia ) - 61.5 Aim for 60 to 80.
OK so it's been done before by about a million other people, including the Daddy of Usability Jakob Nielson. However, I thought I'd create my own Top 8 - why Top 8 you ask? Because, I'm an Internet Rebel and I don't conform to your ideals of Top Tens...plus I couldn't think of 10 things to write about. The points aren't in any kind of priority order, that would just require too much thinking.