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Part of: Readability Guidelines

Live discussions

Last updated: 9 April, 2020

Monthly topic schedule

  1. Blank page for new topic published by start of month.

  2. New topic announced on new topics page and Twitter.

  3. Research starts: everyone looks for usability evidence.

  4. We all share the usability studies we find in the topic page comments.

  5. Live 1 hour discussion held in last week of month.

  6. Person leading topic suggests discussion dates and times, when confirmed we add to topic page, and share on social.

  7. In live discussion we comment on evidence shared.

  8. Recommendation takeaways from evidence are written up into guidelines by end of the next month.

Live discussion structure

It helps if people are familiar with the gist of most of the evidence sources in advance. Look in the comments section to find out what everyone has shared through the month.

0 to 10 minutes: introduction

Topic lead opens discussion, welcomes, introduces themselves. People joining say hello and introduce themselves, or just say hi or follow quietly if they prefer.

Lead outlines what readability aspects we want to look into in the discussion. When everyone who we know is joining has arrived we get started on evidence.

10 to 55 minutes: evidence

We go to the bottom of the comments section to look at the first evidence item posted, and work up chronologically. We may need to move through at a fairly speedy pace to cover everything.

Evidence is discussed. We use threading to keep it neat and flowing. The lead will reply to a comment that presents an evidence item, and we then reply to the lead's comment.

When we have finished on an item, the lead or Lizzie Bruce or Sarah Walsh will comment what the takeaways from that were. This signals the discussion is about to move on to the next item.

55 to 60 minutes: closing time

Opportunity for collaborators to mention anything else relevant that they may not have had chance to say.

We mention next month’s topic and lead if that has been decided on. Thank yous and goodbyes.


A note on tangents

We usually have many evidence sources to cover in the discussion, so we need to keep tangential discussion during the hour to a minimum.

Tangents can be useful: they are thought provoking and sometimes lead us to new topics. But during the live discussion we'll just use a shorthand reply like "new topic?" to avoid losing our focus.

Then an admin can go back later and add the suggestion to the new topics page, or you can copy it to that page yourself after the live discussion is over.


If you would like to lead on a topic, visit the super-contributor commitments page. Please read and add a comment on that page to say you are interested.

Or find out more about collaborating on the project.