Cognitive Web Accessibility Assessments: Readability and Language Results

These are aggregate results related to the Readability and Language section of the cognitive Web accessibility assessments.

Section: Readability and Language

  • 20 Web sites have been assessed to date.
  • 50% met the criteria (below) for this section.

Guideline 1

  • Use language that is as simple as is appropriate for the content.
  • Of the 20 Web sites to which this guideline applied, 85% met it.

Guideline 2

  • Avoid tangential, extraneous, or non-relevant information.
    Stick to the content at hand.
  • Of the 20 Web sites to which this guideline applied, 90% met it.

Guideline 3

  • Use correct grammar and spelling.
    Use a spell-checker. Write clearly and simply.
  • Of the 20 Web sites to which this guideline applied, 100% met it.

Guideline 4

  • Maintain a reading level that is adequate for the audience.
    Readability tests can be performed on the body text (for accuracy, do not include web site navigation, side bar, footer, or other extraneous text elements in the evaluation). Generally, web content should be understandable by those with a lower secondary education, though an elementary reading level may be necessary for some users with certain cognitive or learning disabilities. More complex content may necessitate diligence in implementing other recommendations in this list.
  • Of the 20 Web sites to which this guideline applied, 10% met it.

Guideline 5

  • Be careful with colloquialisms, non-literal text, and jargon.
  • Of the 20 Web sites to which this guideline applied, 60% met it.

Guideline 6

  • Expand abbreviations and acronyms.
    Provide the full meaning in the first instance and use the or elements. Complex content may necessitate a glossary.
  • Of the 20 Web sites to which this guideline applied, 10% met it.

Guideline 7

  • Provide summaries, introductions, or a table of contents for complex or lengthy content .
  • Of the 14 Web sites to which this guideline applied, 79% met it.

Guideline 8

  • Be succinct.
    Provide the minimum amount of text necessary to convey the content.
  • Of the 20 Web sites to which this guideline applied, 85% met it.

Guideline 9

  • Ensure text readability.
    • Line height
      The amount of space between lines should generally be no less than half the character height.
    • Line length
      Very long lines of text (more than around 80 characters per line) are more difficult to read.
    • Letter spacing, word spacing, and justification
      Provide appropriate (but not too much) letter and word spacing. Avoid full justified text as it results in variable spacing between words and can result in distracting "rivers of white" - patterns of white spaces that flow downward through body text.
    • Sans-serif fonts
      These fonts are generally regarded to be more appealing for body text.
    • Adequate text size
      Text should generally be at least 10 pixels in size.
    • Content appropriate fonts
      Visually appealing and content-appropriate fonts affect satisfaction, readability, and comprehension.
    • Paragraph length
      Keep paragraph length short.
    • Adequate color contrast
      Ensure text is easily discerned against the background and that links can be easily differentiated from surrounding text.
    • No horizontal scrolling
      Avoid horizontal scrolling when the text size is increased 200-300%
  • Of the 20 Web sites to which this guideline applied, 80% met it.

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