Re: Web Writing: Numbers - spell out or not?

Subject: Re: Web Writing: Numbers - spell out or not?
From: "Dick Margulis" <margulis -at- mail -dot- fiam -dot- net>
To: "TECHWR-L" <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com>
Date: Thu, 3 May 2001 12:57:37 -0400


I can offer one fact; do with it what you will.

The Peoria Journal Star conducted a study (well designed IMHO) on this very question in the mid-1960s. Consider, when reviewing the results, that lifestyles and sex-role stereotypes were different then from what they are now; and therefore the results may no longer be valid.

What the PJS found was that more people of both sex continued reading a news story when ALL numbers were expressed as words (no dollar signs, no percent signs, no numerals), but that the percentage was dramatically higher for women (by a factor of two or so IIRC). The majority of women and a significant percentage of men who read a headline and began reading the story would stop reading at the first numeral.

If anyone has more up-to-date studies that contradict this, I'll gladly defer.


"Cook, Jenise" wrote:

>I've decided, for those numbers under ten (10), to type the number and not
>spell it out (e.g., "...payments are drafted 3 business days after ...."
>"Changes and terminations must be sent to the home office within 10 days
>Why? I believe the reader will better remember the number of days if s/he
>actually sees the number and not "three" or "ten". It's my best shot at
>usability on this issue.
>Are there any studies, research, or focus group feedback surveys to back me


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