Health literacy advocates are fond of highlighting the importance of the "readability" of written health communication. Also, people who work in public health have been known to target a certain reading "grade level." While readability is certainly a pillar to good written health communication, you should also consider other measures of effectiveness.
Before using the readability calculators on the Plain & Simple website, please ask yourself the following questions:
- Have I spent enough time planning my document? Am I sure of my communication goal? Have I strategically chosen my messages? Have I put my audience first?
- Does all the information help my audience? Have I cut out things my audience probably doesn't need to know? Is the tone encouraging and inviting? Does it avoid jargon and use plain language?
- Is my design clean and attractive? Does it make good use of "white space"? Does it draw my audience in? Does it tap into their interests and culture?
- Have I designed a field testing plan? Have I identified focus groups to provide feedback? Are those focus groups representative of my audience?
There's certainly a lot to think about. You may have to ask yourself some of these questions again as you fine tune your document. For now, let's go to the calculators!