Have you ever had the experience where a user/boss/coworker asks, "How do you do X?" and you answer, "It's explained in that document I sent you." and are met with, "Oh, I haven't read that yet" or "I just skimmed that". While it gives us great stories about the incompetence of our users/bosses/coworkers, it is frustrating and not productive. Here are some thoughts I try to keep in mind when writing to reduce these occurrences:
- Know and target your audience
- Use the inverted pyramid
- Be concise
- Hyperlink rather than give details
- Avoid “walls of text”
Just as the best diet is the one you stick with, the best style of writing is the one that is read. Therefore, except for reference material, when choosing between readability and completeness, choose readability. Most of our writing should probably look like we are writing for the web.
So what are other keys to making writing readable? What should I be doing to make my blog more readable?