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Correction: 80% are readers but love bullet points and pictures; 10-15%
are avid readers; 5-10% are non-readers. Sorry.
> -----Original Message-----
> From: Palmer, Phyllis
> Sent: Thursday, April 02, 1998 4:36 PM
> To: 'DURL'; TECHWR-L -at- LISTSERV -dot- OKSTATE -dot- EDU
> Subject: RE: Measuring readability (fwd)
> So, I must ask, is there a standard rule of thumb for different
> written projects? I have always gone by the fact that 80% don't want
> to read (aren't in depth readers); 10-15% are skimmers (love bullet
> points and pictures), and 5-10% are non-readers. Of those 80%, what
> grade level do you target for installation instructions? for help
> files? for user manuals? for technical training?
> Do they vary?
> Is this a can of worms?
> Thanks for the dialog,
> -----Original Message-----
> From: DURL [SMTP:durl -at- BUFFNET -dot- NET]
> Sent: Thursday, April 02, 1998 4:10 PM
> To: TECHWR-L -at- LISTSERV -dot- OKSTATE -dot- EDU
> Subject: Re: Measuring readability (fwd)
> Hi Mike,
> 10th grade is too high; I usually think 8th grade level
> if the
> issue comes up.
> The problem with the Flesch and Gunning Fog index is
> that they're
> based on numbers of syllables per sentence, or per paragraph.
> You can use
> them on any word processor since MultiMate...when you run the
> check, it'll give you a grade level.
> However, that's pretty meaningless. I did some research
> into this
> a while back, and couldn't find teachers who knew *how* their
> systems that measure grade level do it. I *did* find someone who
> working on developing a grade level using syntax issues (ex:
> voice, simple sentences, compound subject or predicate) but at
> the time,
> no one had developed software for it...too complex for the
> software to do.
> The problem is that specialists know a vocabulary that
> some pretty highly technical words that skew the syllable count.
> If this
> were my task, I'd advocate developing a syntax approach.
> Editorial Eye might be a good resource. I referred to
> article, "Writing for Adult Non-Readers." This took into acount
> that you
> were dealing w/ adults who had a grown-up vocabulary, but who
> don't read
> for recreation--just information as necessary. Here's where the
> issue comes up, and the "adult non-reader" target might be
> way to define your audience.
> Mary Durlak Erie Documentation Inc.
> East Aurora, New York (near Buffalo)
> durl -at- buffnet -dot- net
> On Thu, 2 Apr 1998, Collier,Michael wrote:
> > I've been asked to ensure that our user docs are written on a
> 10th grade
> > level so that they are understandable to a wide audience. If
> you've had to
> > do this, how do you measure this?
> > I searched the archives and the web and found references to
> the Gunning Fog
> > Index and the Flesch Readability Index, but I couldn't
> determine if these
> > enforce a grade level standard (plus, if they're dated, and
> with the decline
> > of literacy...)
> > Has anyone used an index or standard for this? No mil specs,
> please. Is
> > there any software that does this?
> > Thanks,
> > Michael Collier
> > mailto:mcollier -at- cnalife -dot- com
> > Send commands to listserv -at- listserv -dot- okstate -dot- edu (e.g., SIGNOFF
> > Search archives at:
> > Take tangential discussion to
> > Send all list-related questions or problems to
> Send commands to listserv -at- listserv -dot- okstate -dot- edu (e.g., SIGNOFF
> Search archives at:
> Take tangential discussion to
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