Tips, Tricks, Hacks, and Gurus
WTF is the Nielsen/Norman Group? And is this the best they can do with helpful advice?
“Improving Usability for Lower-Literacy Users
The main and most obvious advice is to simplify the text: use text aimed at a 6th-grade reading level on the homepage, important category pages, and landing pages. On other pages, use text geared to an 8th-grade reading level.”
While this is probably excellent advice for the copywriters at Pfizer, it won’t fly for me. To anyone who needs to read stories written at that optimal sixth-grade reading level, I say there’s the door.
There are too many delicious, fabulous, perfect words and I refuse to limit myself to what twelve-year-olds can read and comprehend easily. So no, I won’t do that. I haven’t spent countless hours of my life reading and inhaling thousands of words to pare my writing down to cater to people who only read blogs and the backs of cereal boxes. Won’t do it. Call me self-indulgent (although, if you can use that word in a sentence you’ll probably be ok with what I write).
I’ve been invited to pitch some stories to another (paying) publication and tooled around the site a bit to see what they publish.
Given their target demographic there seemed to be a complete dearth of what appears to be as prevalent as suburban crabgrass on another nameless — cough, cough — writing platform. Whewwww, this other platform had no tips on how to get readers or tricks for getting them to actually, you know, read what’s been written. Not one headline with promised hacks for increasing engagement with your audience.
In checking out this potential future home for some of my work, however, my nostrils flared a little at all those listicles but I can probably live with that. The gods know I’ve dabbled with those myself and had a good time doing it.
I probably have too high an opinion of myself when it comes to what I bring to this particular table given I refuse to write helpful how-to articles or one-syllable words.
Conversely, it might be exactly the opposite.