Friday, 7 December 2007

Blog Readability Test - Rating UK Newspapers for readability

Just came across the Blog Readability Test via Philosophy etc. who was rated at Genius level. Whilst I was quite satisfied with this, as I am an avid reader of Richard's blog, I was concerned that mine did not have such a high rating (no worries there you might be thinking!). I am trying to write for a reasonably educated audience but not wanting to make arguments that go over most everyone's head. I want to communicate sometimes difficult and subtle ideas in a way that as many people as possible could understand them. I did not know what rating levels this test uses but I thought people capable of going to college is what I am aiming at. Certainly above the supposed 12 year reading age of most newspapers. Anyway I was pleased to say my prediction turned out quite correct:

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Of course you might respond that this was post-hoc reasoning on my part. Still if you read my intent as to what I am trying to do it is an appropriate rating. Or is it?

This made me wonder how about testing other sites to see how good this is? What about the claimed reasoning age of newspapers? I expect the tabloids to have a lower reading age than the broadsheets.

So my expectation was confirmed although I was somewhat suprised at the variation at the broadsheets. It is interesting that the BBC places higher than the Times and the Guardian. For all I know the parsing of pages is not very deep - it is certainly quick - and so repeated tests with other editions might create differing results. Also it is not designed to rate web sites so this might have implications, although as far a such a system goes with respect to parsing, there is no technical difference between blogs and online newspapers - apart from the variety of authors but that is, presumably, re-balanced, somewhat, by editorial control. Well I could play with this some more but have work to do. I will revisit this sometime in the future.

A final reflection is that if I really want to get my points across I need to lower my rating to the High School level. If the Times and Guardian broadsheets can do this, then so can I!

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Anonymous said...

Please for the article on reading ability and UK nationals could you add in the reading age? It would be most helpful

Anonymous said...

Did you just conjure this up in your head? Pointless without references x

faithlessgod said...

Follow the links

faithlessgod said...

Follow the links

Naviya Nair said...

Wow. This really made my day. Thanks a lot!

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