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This wiki is no longer being updated. But it is still available for anyone who wants to make style decisions based on evidence and data.


Part of: Readability Guidelines

Readability questions

Last updated: 11 December, 2019

We identified these questions in Alpha. Then researched usability evidence to answer them in Beta.

Abbreviations, acronyms and ampersands

  • Do abbreviations/acronyms make sentences more or less difficult to read?

  • Can we identify any abbreviations/acronyms that are universally recognised?

  • Are all screen readers OK with the ampersand symbol?

  • Do ampersands help or hinder readability of navigation, titles and names?

Screen readers and punctuation

  • Are there screen readers that read out each individual letter of a capped word?

  • Can we gather a comprehensive as possible list of how screen readers read out dashes (and what they do with hyphens?)

  • Can we comprehensively research screen readers with other punctuation that conveys meaning or adds nuance, like brackets?

Positive and possessive contractions

  • Can we formalise the low literacy primary evidence about positive and possessive contractions into a usability study?

  • Do positive and possessive contractions cause issues for people with dyslexia, poor vision and learning difficulties?

  • Does having a link mid-sentence impair readability?


  • Can we define style guidance around numbers based on considerations from Alpha?

Clear language use

  • Can we identify some evidence for plain language being more user-friendly?

  • Can we identify evidence for simple sentence construction being more user-friendly?

  • Is there a tool to test a word against reading age 9/low literacy level vocabulary?

  • Is it easier for users with a high level of knowledge of a subject (specialist audiences) to read content that includes specialist terms?

Writing about people

  • Is there any evidence around increased engagement and uptake of services by less advantaged/minority groups when content written in positive inclusive language?

  • Are there any user interviews about how likely people would be to uptake a service/buy a thing/recommend organisation, company or product based on the content language?