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Part of: Readability Guidelines

Testing needed

Last updated: 14 July, 2020

We want to find usability evidence to answer style points we did not identify robust usability evidence for in Alpha or Beta. If no evidence exists, Content Design London will look into carrying out new usability studies.

If you know of any evidence for any of these please add a comment on this page, ideally with a link to the usability study.

Positive contractions

We know negative contractions cause issues for some users. Do positive contractions also reduce readability for people with dyslexia, low vision and learning difficulties?

Letter and number confusion

Does a clear type font sufficiently reduce any confusion people experience between 1 (one), l (lowercase letter l) and I (uppercase letter i) and 0 (zero) and O (capital letter o)? Should we write out zero and one in long form copy? Should we recommend removing these from automatically generated passwords and customer codes?

We've heard mid-sentence links can cause cognition issues. We want to research this as a formal study.

Punctuation and screen readers

We know users can:

  • configure their screen reading software,

  • adapt to idiosyncrasies of software,

  • use software that learns user preferences,

  • comprehend spoken text at very high speeds,

  • slow down, pause and replay spoken text for clarity.

But can all of users, including non-technically, non-digitally literate users with minimum support, do all of this? 

Is having punctuation that conveys meaning or adds nuance, for example "hyphen", "en dash", "open brackets", "close brackets" read out is problem or frustration, even a low level one, for any users? As we can alleviate that with sensible content readability guidelines. That is what they are for. AbilityNet states that generally, screen readers pause for:

  • periods

  • semi-colons

  • commas

  • question marks

  • exclamation points

  • paragraph endings

Can we gather a comprehensive list of how screen readers, by default, read out other punctuation that conveys meaning or adds nuance, like brackets?

Our approach

First we're searching through existing usability evidence available from:

If applicable, we will design and commission new usability studies in these areas. Content Design London are currently discussing approaches to testing with The Shaw Trust.