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Writing for Every Reader - Design and Content

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Reading is a complicated task. It requires active memory, sustained attention, and a complex understanding of language.

Cognitive disabilities can make reading even more complicated. Permanent conditions, like dyslexia, situational conditions, like learning an additional language, and temporary conditions, like reading in a noisy room, affect a reader’s comprehension.

Conditions like these can affect our readers’ understanding by interfering with their attention, memory, or linguistic comprehension. Three practical things we can do to help are:

- Choose our language intentionally.
- Structure our content well.
- Use media thoughtfully.

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Writing for Every Reader - Design and Content

  1. 1. @stephaniehobson Design and Content, July 2018 Writing for Every Reader
  2. 2. Universal Design
  3. 3. Cognitive disabilities
  4. 4. - http://webaim.org/articles/cognitive/ “ In loose terms, a person with a cognitive disability has greater difculty with one or more types of mental tasks than the average person. ”
  5. 5. Medical diagnoses • Dyslexia • Learning disabilities • ADD / ADHD • Brain injury • Dementia • Alzheimer’s • Stroke • Down syndrome • Autism spectrum
  6. 6. Writing for every reader
  7. 7. Writing for every reader • Make reading easier • Use media thoughtfully • Label interactions
  8. 8. Functional efects
  9. 9. @bill_wessel @the_fetcheress @markmcelhaw Permanent Temporary https://www.microsoft.com/design/inclusive/
  10. 10. Memory • Short term • Long term • Working
  11. 11. Attention
  12. 12. Comprehension • Reading • Verbal • Linguistic • Math • Visual
  13. 13. Problem-solving
  14. 14. Functional efects • Memory • Attention • Comprehension • Problem solving
  15. 15. Make reading easier.
  16. 16. Make reading easier. • Easier words and grammar • Easier to understand • Easier to see • Easier structure
  17. 17. Easier words and grammar
  18. 18. Easier words and grammar • Short sentences • Simple words
  19. 19. Advantageous Facilitate Leverage Good Help Use → → →
  20. 20. Easier words and grammar • Short sentences • Simple words • Avoid adverbs
  21. 21. Ran quickly Said suddenly Carefully balanced Screamed loudly Sprinted Blurted Balanced Screamed → → → →
  22. 22. Easier words and grammar • Short sentences • Simple words • Avoid adverbs • Active voice
  23. 23. The tea will be poured by Stephanie. → Stephanie will pour the tea. We were invited by Merry to attend her tea party. → Merry invited us to her tea party.
  24. 24. Easier words and grammar • Short sentences • Simple words • Avoid adverbs • Active voice • 8th grade reading level
  25. 25. Hemingway Editor http://www.hemingwayapp.com/
  26. 26. - Jakob Nielsen, being a bad example “Avoid convoluted sentence structures, especially compound sentences with many subordinate clauses and conjunctions that put a strain on users’ short-term memory, which is a notoriously weak point.”
  27. 27. - What Jakob Nielsen meant “Use short and simple sentences. Sentences with more than one idea strain users’ short-term memories.”
  28. 28. Easier to understand
  29. 29. Easier to understand • No idioms
  30. 30. clipartbest.com/free-kicking-donkey-clipart
  31. 31. Easier to understand • No idioms • No sarcasm or rhetorical questions
  32. 32. I just love cold tea. You wouldn’t your tea getting cold would you?
  33. 33. Easier to understand • No idioms • No sarcasm or rhetorical questions • No slang or pop culture
  34. 34. “We’re taking a chilly bin to the bach and having a barbie this arvo.”
  35. 35. - Kiwi English “We’re taking a chilly bin to the bach and having a barbie this arvo.”
  36. 36. I didn’t understand that reference
  37. 37. Easier to understand • No idioms • No sarcasm or rhetorical questions • No slang or pop culture • Avoid jargon
  38. 38. “QuickReg getting you down? We don’t want that, do we? Sidle up to the SS desk and we’ll see you leave happy as a clam.”
  39. 39. “QuickReg getting you down? We don’t want that, do we? Sidle up to the SS desk and we’ll see you leave happy as a clam.”
  40. 40. “QuickReg getting you down? We don’t want that, do we? Sidle up to the SS desk and we’ll see you leave happy as a clam.”
  41. 41. “QuickReg getting you down? We don’t want that, do we? Sidle up to the SS desk and we’ll see you leave happy as a clam.”
  42. 42. “If you are having trouble registering for courses online come to the Student Services desk. We can help you register.”
  43. 43. @stephaniehobson Just say what you mean.
  44. 44. Easier to see
  45. 45. Easier to see • Large text • A plain familiar font • Enough contrast • Left align
  46. 46. Easier to see • L a r g e t e x t • A p l a i n f a m i l i a r f o n t • E n o u g h c o n t r a s t • L e f t a l i g n
  47. 47. Easier to see • Large text • A plain familiar font • Enough contrast • Left align • No italics
  48. 48. Easier to see • Use sentence case
  49. 49. YOU CAN’T GET A CUP OF TEA BIG ENOUGH OR A BOOK LONG ENOUGH TO SUIT ME. You can’t get a cup of tea big enough or a book long enough to suit me. - C. S. Lewis ☹ �
  50. 50. Easier to see • Use sentence case • Increase line-heights
  51. 51. Tea is an aromatic beverage commonly prepared by pouring hot or boiling water over cured leaves of the Camellia sinensis, an evergreen shrub (bush) native to Asia. After water, it is the most widely consumed drink in the world. Tea is an aromatic beverage commonly prepared by pouring hot or boiling water over cured leaves of the Camellia sinensis, an evergreen shrub (bush) native to Asia. After water, it is the most widely consumed drink in the… ☹ �
  52. 52. Easier to see • Use sentence case • Increase line-heights (1.5 / 150%) • Increase margins
  53. 53. Easier to see • Use sentence case • Increase line-heights (1.5 / 150%) • Increase margins • Restrict line-length (50-75 chars)
  54. 54. Easier to see • Place text on a solid colour background
  55. 55. Easier to see • Use semantic HTML
  56. 56. - https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tea
  57. 57. B L AC K T E A S : A S S A M , DA R J E E L I N G, A N D C E Y LO N. R E A D MO R E . GREEN TEAS: DRAGON’S W E L L , M AT C H A , A N D SENCHA. READ MORE. H E R B A L T E A S : CHAMOMILE, ROOIBOS, AND PEPPERMINT. READ MORE.
  58. 58. BLACK TEAS: ASSAM, D A R J E E L I N G , A N D CEYLON. READ MORE. GREEN TEAS: DRAGON’S WELL, MATCHA, AND SENCHA. READ MORE. H E R B A L T E A S : CHAMOMILE, ROOIBOS, AND PEPPERMINT. READ MORE.
  59. 59. BLACK TEAS: ASSAM, D A R J E E L I N G , A N D CEYLON. READ MORE. GREEN TEAS: DRAGON’S WELL, MATCHA, AND SENCHA. READ MORE. H E R B A L T E A S : CHAMOMILE, ROOIBOS, AND PEPPERMINT. READ MORE.
  60. 60. BLACK TEAS: ASSAM, DARJEELING, AND CEYLON. READ MORE. GREEN TEAS: DRAGON’S WELL, MATCHA, AND SENCHA. READ MORE. HERBAL TEAS: CHAMOMILE, ROOIBOS, AND PEPPERMINT. READ MORE.
  61. 61. Black teas: Assam, Darjeeling, and Ceylon. Read more. Green teas: Dragon’s Well, Matcha, and Sencha. Read more. Herbal teas: Chamomile, Rooibos, and Peppermint. read more.
  62. 62. Black teas: Assam, Darjeeling, and Ceylon. Read more. Green teas: Dragon’s Well, Matcha, and Sencha. Read more. Herbal teas: Chamomile, Rooibos, and Peppermint. Read more.
  63. 63. Black teas: Assam, Darjeeling, and Ceylon. Read more. Green teas: Dragon’s Well, Matcha, and Sencha. Read more. Herbal teas: Chamomile, Rooibos, and Peppermint. Read more.
  64. 64. Black teas: Assam, Darjeeling, and Ceylon. Read more. Green teas: Dragon’s Well, Matcha, and Sencha. Read more. Herbal teas: Chamomile, Rooibos, and Peppermint. Read more.
  65. 65. Black teas: Assam, Darjeeling, and Ceylon. Read more. Green teas: Dragon’s Well, Matcha, and Sencha. Read more. Herbal teas: Chamomile, Rooibos, and Peppermint. Read more.
  66. 66. B L AC K T E A S : A S S A M , DA R J E E L I N G, A N D C E Y LO N. R E A D MO R E . GREEN TEAS: DRAGON’S W E L L , M AT C H A , A N D SENCHA. READ MORE. H E R B A L T E A S : CHAMOMILE, ROOIBOS, AND PEPPERMINT. READ MORE.
  67. 67. Black teas: Assam, Darjeeling, and Ceylon. Read more. Green teas: Dragon’s Well, Matcha, and Sencha. Read more. Herbal teas: Chamomile, Rooibos, and Peppermint. Read more.
  68. 68. Easier structure
  69. 69. Easier structure • Use headings and lists • Make small pieces of content • Put most important information frst
  70. 70. Black teas: Assam, Darjeeling, and Ceylon. Read more. Green teas: Dragon’s Well, Matcha, and Sencha. Read more. Herbal teas: Chamomile, Rooibos, and Peppermint. Read more.
  71. 71. Black teas Assam, Darjeeling, and Ceylon. Read more. Green teas Dragon’s Well, Matcha, and Sencha. Read more. Herbal teas Chamomile, Rooibos, and Peppermint. Read more.
  72. 72. Black teas • Assam • Ceylon • Darjeeling Read more Green teas • Dragon’s Well • Matcha
  73. 73. Use media thoughtfully.
  74. 74. Images • Use images • Only use appropriate images • Don’t just use images
  75. 75. Tea Culture Many cafés serve a “cream tea”, of scones, clotted cream, and jam alongside a pot of tea. Tea is consumed both at home and outside the home, often in cafés or tea rooms. Afternoon tea with cakes on fne porcelain is a cultural stereotype. In some parts of Britain, 'tea' may also refer to the evening meal.
  76. 76. Many cafés serve a “cream tea”, of scones, clotted cream, and jam alongside a pot of tea. Tea Culture In the United Kingdom, tea is consumed daily and often by a majority of people, and indeed is perceived as one of Britain's cultural beverages. It is customary for a host to offer tea to guests soon after their arrival. Tea is consumed both at home
  77. 77. Tea Culture In the United Kingdom, tea is consumed daily and often by a majority of people, and indeed is perceived as one of Britain's cultural beverages. It is customary for a host to offer tea to guests soon after their arrival. Tea is consumed both at home and outside the home, often in cafés or tea rooms. Afternoon tea with cakes on fne porcelain is a cultural
  78. 78. <img src=“cream_tea.jpg" alt="Many cafés serve a ‘cream tea’, of scones, clotted cream, and jam alongside a pot of tea.">
  79. 79. Alternate text • Don’t describe the image • Communicate the idea • Keep it short • Don’t repeat information • Refect your brand
  80. 80. Herbal Green Black Caffeine in tea
  81. 81. Herbal Green Black Caffeine in tea alt="20mg"
  82. 82. Photo by Toa Heftiba on Unsplas
  83. 83. alt="Winter is hard, stay warm with tea."
  84. 84. alt="Sometimes when I’m cold I say things I regret."
  85. 85. alt=""
  86. 86. www.davidstea.com Green Passionfruit Organic Japanese Sencha Organic Mao Jian Jade
  87. 87. Green Passionfruit Organic Japanese Sencha Organic Mao Jian Jade alt=""
  88. 88. India 885 China 770 Sri Lanka 310 Kenya 290 Indonesia 160 Tea production
  89. 89. alt="China is the world’s second largest producer of tea."
  90. 90. Alternate text • Don’t just describe the image • Communicate the same idea • Keep it short • Don’t repeat information • Refect your brand
  91. 91. Icons
  92. 92. @matto
  93. 93. Menu
  94. 94. Icons • Choose familiar icons • Include a text label
  95. 95. Videos
  96. 96. Videos • Provide transcripts
  97. 97. YouTube
  98. 98. JWPlayer
  99. 99. Amara.org
  100. 100. Videos • Provide transcripts • Keep it short • Never autoplay or loop
  101. 101. Label interactions.
  102. 102. Links • Use key words that describe the page being linked to • Put keywords at the front of the link Links
  103. 103. Black teas • Assam • Ceylon • Darjeeling Read more Green teas • Dragon’s Well • Matcha • Sencha Read more Herbal teas • Chamomile • Peppermint • Rooibos Read more
  104. 104. Black teas • Assam • Ceylon • Darjeeling Green teas • Dragon’s Well • Matcha • Sencha Herbal teas • Chamomile • Peppermint • Rooibos
  105. 105. Forms
  106. 106. Forms • Left align labels, felds, and buttons • No reset / clear button
  107. 107. Forms • Break big tasks into smaller steps • Let users go away and come back • Give them lots of time • Make the purpose of the form clear on each page
  108. 108. Forms • Limit visual noise • Remove distractions
  109. 109. Forms • Error messages should be specifc • Put errors messages in context • Warn users when an action has permanent consequences
  110. 110. Summary
  111. 111. Summary • Memory • Attention • Comprehension • Problem solving
  112. 112. Summary • Make reading easier • Use media thoughtfully • Label interactions
  113. 113. I Like To Make Websites Everyone Can Use @stephaniehobson noti.st/stephaniehobson
  114. 114. Resources • https://ed.ted.com/lessons/what-is-dyslexia-kelli-sandman-hurley • https://www.nngroup.com/articles/legibility-readability- comprehension/ • http://publications.gc.ca/site/eng/9.838244/publication.html • https://www.nngroup.com/articles/working-memory-external-memory/ • https://webaim.org/articles/cognitive/ • https://www.microsoft.com/design/inclusive/ • https://www.usability.gov/how-to-and-tools/methods/writing-for-the- web.html • https://www.nngroup.com/articles/legibility-readability- comprehension/ • https://www.nngroup.com/articles/learn-more-links/ • https://www.nngroup.com/articles/chunking/ • https://www.nngroup.com/articles/mobile-content/ • http://csskarma.com/blog/dyslexia-typography/ • https://webaim.org/articles/cognitive/ • https://axesslab.com/fonts-dont-matter/#what-really-matters-for- readability • http://www.beelinereader.com/ • https://conversionxl.com/blog/testing-hamburger-icon-revenue/ • http://web.archive.org/web/20170903002757/https:// sitesforproft.com/menu-eats-hamburger • https://xkcd.com/1093/ • https://unsplash.com/photos/lUx8JtwReV0

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