Public Relations Tactics

Readability Helps Everyone

September 5, 2017

It’s a given that readers with lower literacy skills respond better to messages that are simpler and clearer. But what about highly literate readers?

That’s what the researchers at the Nielsen Norman Group set out to learn in a recent study. To begin, they started with an off-the-shelf pharmaceutical ad, something hard to read with all of its legalese, caveats and disclaimers.

Then the researchers had two groups of people — highly literate folks and those with lower literacy — read the ads and answer some questions. Unsurprisingly, the highly literate group outperformed those with low literacy on all three measures of success:

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