Techniques that Improve Readability
Varying the length of Sentences
One of the ways to improve readability is to vary the length of sentences in written works to make it more dynamic and emphasize the major points (Bovée & Thill, 2013). Different lengths of sentences are intended for conveying different messages; therefore, the writer is supposed to be aware of their audience when writing. For instance, at all times, the writer should write short and simple sentences, which make the material easier to read, especially when the readers are non-native speakers and people who need to translate it. Medium length sentences may be essential when describing relationships among items, while long sentences provide the best way to summarize or display complex ideas (Lowrance & Lea Moulaison, 2014). Therefore, to effectively express information, the writer ought to have a mixture of sentence lengths.
Keeping Paragraphs Short
The second way is to strive and keep paragraphs short to make it easier for readers to consume the content in manageable chunks (Bovée & Thill, 2013). Large paragraphs can visually daunt readers; therefore, should be around 100-150 words. It is important to summarize the main points in short paragraphs to enable readers to skim through the material and also be able to refer to a specific paragraph they need to get the point from (Lowrance & Lea Moulaison, 2014). The writer should put the main idea at the beginning of a new paragraph and restrict themselves from the urge of introducing other ideas in the same paragraph so that the readers can immediately recognize the idea. The writer can also employ the use of transitional elements to guide their readers to connect ideas in the written work. Short paragraphs will also make the written material visually inviting and encouraging the audience to read more keenly.
Using Lists and Bullets
One can also involve the use of bullets and lists to delineate a group of items or show a sequence of activities (Bovée & Thill, 2013). This technique can be appealing to readers by heightening the visual impact and enhance their retention of the information presented because it is mainly used to highlight, clarify or emphasize. Lists can be helpful for readers who have limited time and need to grasp a lot of information in a short period. Additionally, lists may be used to give a reader some breather after reading large paragraphs. The writer can also utilize parallelism with bullets by repeating the patterns of points to make it easier for readers read, skim, and retain information. Lists and bullets improve the probability of the readers in finding the writer’s main points from large paragraphs and simplifying complex subjects.
Adding Headings and Subheadings
The fourth technique will be adding heading and subheadings to written material to help in calling the reader’s attention to the main ideas and bridging connections between related subjects (Bovée & Thill, 2013). The writer should break up long or bulky passages using indented, bold or italicized subtitles, to enable the readers to recognize, understand main points, and digest the material more easily. Headings and subheadings help the writer to organize their work in a more presentable manner while connecting major and minor ideas or explanations (Lowrance & Lea Moulaison, 2014). The writer may employ descriptive and informative headings to act as a guide to their readers to locate whatever they are looking for quickly.
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Bovée & Thill L. (2013). Quick Learning Guide: Summary of Learning Objectives. Business Communication Essentials. Retrieved October 7, 2016, from http://rtu.businesscommunicationnetwork.com/files/2013/08/BCE6-Quick-Learning-Guide-Ch5.pdf
Lowrance, N., & Lea Moulaison, H. (2014). Skimming comprehension in two online document presentation environments. Library Hi Tech, 32(3), 382-396.