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Reading	
  between	
  the	
  words...	
  
   Using	
  text	
  forma/ng	
  to	
  increase	
  
   persuasiveness	
  and	
  a...
Roadmap

1.	
  The	
  concept
2.	
  A	
  few	
  studies
3.	
  Why	
  technical	
  writers	
  might	
  care
TEXT FORMATTING MATTERS.

Text	
  forma6ng	
  ma7ers.
There are typographic formats
that (some) people “like.”



         There are typographic formats
         that help them...
8/31/2009
GOVERNOR RENDELL ORDERS STATE                                                         8/31/2009
                ...
Lorem ipsum, Dolor sit amet                               Lorem ipsum, Dolor sit amet                               Lorem ...
To	
  tech	
  writers	
  forma6ng	
  can	
  
mean	
  layout.
When	
  I	
  say	
  forma6ng	
  (for	
  
the	
  next	
  30	
  minutes),	
  I	
  mean
the	
  size	
  of	
  spaces	
  betwee...
Eye movements
during reading

Corrective
movements
The	
  cogni*ve	
  burden	
  of	
  reading We	
  typically	
  
                                                           ...
The	
  horse	
  raced	
  past	
  the	
  barn	
  fell.




                                                        11
,
Some*mes	
  ,
commas	
  can	
  solve	
  the	
  problem.
The	
  horse,	
  raced	
  past	
  the	
  barn,	
  fell.
       The	
  horse,	
  raced	
  past	
  the	
  barn,	
  fell.



...
The	
  chauffeur	
  annoyed	
  the	
  man	
  with	
  the	
  cigar.	
  
                      Who	
  has	
  
               ...
The	
  task	
  of	
  reading
1.	
  Find	
  the	
  right	
  next	
  line.
2.	
  Keep	
  track	
  of	
  who	
  is	
  doing	
...
Processing	
  space
is	
  limited	
  ...	
  like	
  the
top	
  of	
  a	
  workbench.
If	
  we	
  
format	
  text
so	
  tha...
For	
  example,	
  when	
  can	
  vary	
  space	
  size	
  between	
  
words	
  to	
  reflect	
  their	
  (syntac*c)	
  gro...
The	
  horse	
  raced	
  past	
  the	
  barn	
  fell.


The	
  horse	
  	
  	
  raced	
  past	
  the	
  barn	
  	
  	
  	
...
Readsmart	
  is	
  a	
  patented	
  text	
  forma6ng	
  algorithm	
  	
  that	
  uses	
  
linguis<cally	
  informed,	
  ps...
Example	
  
  rule
Example	
  
  rule
Study	
  1:                       !"#$%#&'()"*
Reading
Comprehension


People	
  read	
  faster
and	
  remember	
  more
wh...
!"#$%&$'()*
Study	
  2a-­‐e:
Direct	
  mail
donor	
  acquisi<on
4	
  studies
~390,000	
  households


People	
  read	
  re...
People	
  can’t	
  tell	
  
that	
  text	
  has	
  been	
  ReadSmart	
  forma7ed.
Study3:	
  Email	
  Newsle7er                                                                                            3...
Why should tech writers care?
                            Most adult Americans read at about an
                          ...
Find	
  out	
  more	
  about	
  readsmart	
  at	
  www.readsmart.com.

Contact	
  Tom	
  Bever	
  	
  	
  	
  	
  tgb@read...
More	
  about	
  ReadSmart:	
  www.readsmart.com
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Reading Beyondthe Words Using text formatting to increase persuasiveness and actionability of copy

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You’ve mapped the information. You’ve designed the typography. You’ve designed, refined and tested your copy: Its engaging. It’s clear. It’s actionable. The only thing left to change is the size of the spaces.

As it turns out, spaces size matters. This talk presents emerging reading comprehension research demonstrating when relative intra-word/intra-letter space size reflects psychologically relevant* groupings, readers read faster, retain more and report that they are more likely to act on what they have read.

We provide clear and concrete examples of how this approach can be applied today to enhance the effectiveness and persuasiveness of your writing.

* Linguists should be prepared to be a bit disappointed.

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Transcript of "Reading Beyondthe Words Using text formatting to increase persuasiveness and actionability of copy"

  1. 1. Reading  between  the  words...   Using  text  forma/ng  to  increase   persuasiveness  and  ac5onability  of  copy Kath  Straub 1
  2. 2. Roadmap 1.  The  concept 2.  A  few  studies 3.  Why  technical  writers  might  care
  3. 3. TEXT FORMATTING MATTERS. Text  forma6ng  ma7ers.
  4. 4. There are typographic formats that (some) people “like.” There are typographic formats that help them perform better.
  5. 5. 8/31/2009 GOVERNOR RENDELL ORDERS STATE 8/31/2009 8/31/2009 FLAGS TO FLY AT HALF_STAFF IN HONOR Governor Rendell orders state flags to Governor Rendell orders state flags to OF FALLEN SOLDIERS fly at half-staff in honor of fallen soldier fly at half-staff in honor of fallen soldier 8/31/2009 Governor Rendell offers adult basic coverage Governor Rendell offers adult basic coverage GOVERNOR RENDELL OFFERS ADULT to 35,000 uninsured pennsylvanians to 35,000 uninsured pennsylvanians BASIC COVERAGE TO 35,000 UNINSURED PENSYLVANIANS 8/30/2009 8/30/2009 Governor Rendell orders says largest solar Governor Rendell orders says largest solar 8/30/2009 power facility in eastern US will be built in power facility in eastern US will be built in GOVERNOR RENDELL ORDERS LARGEST Bucks County Bucks County SOLAR POWER FACILITY IN EASTERN US WILL BE IN BUCKS COUNTY To  tech  writers  forma6ng   means  typography.
  6. 6. Lorem ipsum, Dolor sit amet Lorem ipsum, Dolor sit amet Lorem ipsum, Dolor sit amet consectetuer adipiscing elit, sed diam consectetuer adipiscing elit, sed diam consectetuer adipiscing elit, sed diam nonummy nibh euismod tincidunt ut laoreet nonummy nibh euismod tincidunt ut laoreet nonummy nibh euismod tincidunt ut laoreet dolore magna aliquam erat volutpat. Ut wisi dolore magna aliquam erat volutpat. Ut wisi dolore magna aliquam erat volutpat. Ut wisi enim ad minim veniam, quis nostrud exerci enim ad minim veniam, quis nostrud exerci enim ad minim veniam, quis nostrud exerci tation ullamcorper suscipit lobortis nisl ut tation ullamcorper suscipit lobortis nisl ut tation ullamcorper suscipit lobortis nisl ut aliquip ex ea commodo consequat. Duis autem aliquip ex ea commodo consequat. Duis aliquip ex ea commodo consequat. Duis vel eum iriure dolor in hendrerit in vulputate autem vel eum iriure dolor in hendrerit in autem vel eum iriure dolor in hendrerit in velit esse molestie consequat, vel illum dolore vulputate velit esse molestie consequat, vel vulputate velit esse molestie consequat, vel eu feugiat nulla facilisis at vero eros et illum dolore eu feugiat nulla facilisis at vero illum dolore eu feugiat nulla facilisis at vero accumsan et iusto odio dignissim qui blandit eros et accumsan et iusto odio dignissim qui eros et accumsan et iusto odio dignissim qui praesent luptatum zzril delenit augue duis blandit praesent luptatum zzril delenit augue blandit praesent luptatum zzril delenit augue dolore te feugait nulla facilisi.Ut wisi enim ad duis dolore te feugait nulla facilisi.Ut wisi duis dolore te feugait nulla facilisi.Ut wisi minim veniam, quis nostrud exerci tation enim ad minim veniam, quis nostrud exerci enim ad minim veniam, quis nostrud exerci ullamcorper suscipit lobortis nisl ut aliquip ex tation ullamcorper suscipit lobortis nisl ut tation ullamcorper suscipit lobortis nisl ut ea commodo consequat. Wassanus plebus aliquip ex ea commodo consequat. Wassanus aliquip ex ea commodo consequat. Wassanus deploribus unix. plebus deploribus unix. plebus deploribus unix. To  tech  writers  forma6ng   means  jus<fica<on.
  7. 7. To  tech  writers  forma6ng  can   mean  layout.
  8. 8. When  I  say  forma6ng  (for   the  next  30  minutes),  I  mean the  size  of  spaces  between   words  and  le7ers.
  9. 9. Eye movements during reading Corrective movements
  10. 10. The  cogni*ve  burden  of  reading We  typically   don’t  even  think   1.  Track  to  the  right  next  line. about  this  cost. 2.  Keep  track  of    who  is  doing  what  to  whom. We  recognize  this  cost   as  complexity  of  language.
  11. 11. The  horse  raced  past  the  barn  fell. 11
  12. 12. , Some*mes  , commas  can  solve  the  problem.
  13. 13. The  horse,  raced  past  the  barn,  fell. The  horse,  raced  past  the  barn,  fell. OK,  some*mes, commas  can  solve  the  problem.   Note  to  self:  This  example  serves  only  to  distract  Bri8sh  Technical  Writers  ....
  14. 14. The  chauffeur  annoyed  the  man  with  the  cigar.   Who  has   the  cigar?  
  15. 15. The  task  of  reading 1.  Find  the  right  next  line. 2.  Keep  track  of  who  is  doing  what  to  whom. 3.  Sort  out  (syntac*c)  ambigui*es.
  16. 16. Processing  space is  limited  ...  like  the top  of  a  workbench. If  we   format  text so  that  it  take  less (mental)  space  to   sort  out  who  is  doing   what  to  whom  ...  we   have  more  space  to   understand  what   we  are  reading.” 16
  17. 17. For  example,  when  can  vary  space  size  between   words  to  reflect  their  (syntac*c)  grouping. The  chauffeur  annoyed          the  man  with  the  cigar.   The  chauffeur  annoyed  the  man            with  the  cigar.  
  18. 18. The  horse  raced  past  the  barn  fell. The  horse      raced  past  the  barn        fell. ? ? It  may  not  always  work  ....
  19. 19. Readsmart  is  a  patented  text  forma6ng  algorithm    that  uses   linguis<cally  informed,  psychologically  validated  rules  to  vary   the  size  of  spaces  between  words  and  le7ers.  Read  smart   does  not  alter  your  font,  typography,  jus<fica<on  or  layout.
  20. 20. Example   rule
  21. 21. Example   rule
  22. 22. Study  1: !"#$%#&'()"* Reading Comprehension People  read  faster and  remember  more when  they  are  reading text  that  is  forma7ed using  ReadSmart. Reading Short Essays
  23. 23. !"#$%&$'()* Study  2a-­‐e: Direct  mail donor  acquisi<on 4  studies ~390,000  households People  read  respond  more frequently  and  give  more when  they  read  solicita<on le7ers  that  are  forma7ed   with  ReadSmart. Direct Mail Donor Acquisition
  24. 24. People  can’t  tell   that  text  has  been  ReadSmart  forma7ed.
  25. 25. Study3:  Email  Newsle7er 380  par<cipants w.  opt-­‐in  post  exposure  survey People  who  read  ReadSmarted  Essays   answered  comprehension  ques8ons more  accurately  than  people  who   read  text  that  was  not   ReadSmarted...     on  7  out  of  7  ques8ons. People  who  read  ReadSmarted  essays   reported  that  they  were  10%  more   likely  to  send  the  essay  on  to  a  friend. This  work  was  done  while  I  was  s8ll  @  HFI.  A  more  complete  descrip8on  of  this  study  can  be  found  here:   hRp://www.slideshare.net/guest5e65b4/straub-­‐read-­‐smart-­‐findings-­‐plus-­‐example-­‐text
  26. 26. Why should tech writers care? Most adult Americans read at about an 8th grade level or below  Many read BELOW the 5th grade level •1 out of 5 adults •2 out of 5 older adults or minorities Most websites are written at the 12th Tech writers expend a lot grade level or above (AAAS report) of time and effort to communicate just the right content. ReadSmart formatting helps readers to get past the reading process and to get to the content.
  27. 27. Find  out  more  about  readsmart  at  www.readsmart.com. Contact  Tom  Bever          tgb@readsmart.com  or                                  Lee  Berendt    lee@readsmart.com
  28. 28. More  about  ReadSmart:  www.readsmart.com
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