Re: Measuring readability

Subject: Re: Measuring readability
From: Ronni Geist <ronni -at- GEISTWRITERS -dot- COM>
Date: Fri, 3 Apr 1998 10:55:26 -0500

Michael Lewis wrote:

> Meanwhile, measures like the Flesch-Kincaid (rather better than Gunning)
> are of some value when applied to general material (such as fiction and
> newspapers -- if anyone can tell the difference nowadays), but I really
> question their value for our kind of writing.
> Of course, the original posting wasn't asking "Is this any use?" but
> rather "How can I do it?" Still, if it's no use, why bother?


Michael -

You're right -- the readability tests we use were not designed for
complex, technical docs.

You ask, "Still, if it's no use, why bother?"

I've found that in hardware/software companies (the area I'm most
familiar with), having a "quick-and-dirty" assessment -- even if it
isn't precisely accurate -- is better than having no idea whatsoever of
the readability of the docs. For without any assessment, we tend to end
up with "Programs written by engineers...for engineers!"


Ms. Ronni Geist
Director, Editorial Services
ronni -at- geistwriters -dot- com

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