Read time: 1 minute 25 seconds

Can you scan the page without having to pause for long passages? Can you quickly grasp the meaning of a section based on its heading?

  • Lennox has a cognitive disability. Lennox finds reading long, uninterrupted passages of text difficult.
  • Eliza finds it difficult to navigate long paragraphs using a mobile device.

Steps to take

  1. Read the Australian Government Style Manual content structure section.
  2. Use short sentences, whenever possible. Varying sentence length can add interest, but whenever possible, avoid unnecessarily long sentences. Long sentences can present obstacles to people who have difficulty reading. They can also be harder to skim on mobile devices.
  3. Likewise, keep your paragraphs short and focused. Short paragraphs, like short sentences, are easier to scan on mobile devices.
  4. Use precise and descriptive headings to help readers grasp the main points of a piece without reading it in its entirety.
  5. Step out forms or content into multiple steps. This is so that people are not immediately overwhelmed.
  6. For content that spans multiple pages, provide progress indicators so that users understand how far through the process they are.
  7. Use icons to compliment text where appropriate to improve the scannablity of the content. For example, and help icon next to a help tip.
  8. Check the continuity between sections. Paragraphs that don’t have clear links from one to the next can cause difficulties for some readers.
  9. Test the readability of your content. On this website we use Hemingway App to help shape our content. Similar online tools include Readable.io and Juicy Studio. If you're editing in Word see how to turn on Flesch-Kincaid.

Supporting resource

Page last updated: 17 June 2021