Improve Readability of Web Content With WriteClearly 3.0

Improve Readability of Web Content With WriteClearly 3.0

Abhijeet Chavan's picture

OpenAdvocate WriteClearly is a web tool that helps authors write more readable website content. WriteClearly analyzes the reading grade level of a web page and offers suggestions for improving readability. WriteClearly is a free “bookmarklet” that runs in your web browser. Simply drag-and-drop the bookmarklet to your browser’s bookmarks bar. Nothing to install or update.

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WriteClearly is developed by Urban Insight, Inc. in partnership with Legal Assistance of Western New York, Inc. We built WriteClearly as part of a Technology Initiative Grant from the Legal Services Corporation.

The average reading level of adult Americans is at the 8th grade level. Experts recommend that to be readable by the average American, a web page should be at the 6th gr de reading level. The Plain Writing Act of 2010 requires federal agencies to use "clear government communication that the public can understand and use." We built WriteClearly as a plain language tool that is easy to install and convenient to use.

WriteClearly Suggestions Screen

New features in WriteClearly 3.0 (WC3)

  1. Short paragraphs are easier to read and understand. WC3 identifies long paragraphs and suggests breaking them into several shorter paragraphs.
  2. Shorter sentences are better for conveying complex information. WC3 identifies long sentences and suggest breaking up into smaller sentences.
  3. On the Internet, text in ALL CAPS is associated with "yelling." Excessive use of ALL CAPS makes text harder to read. WC3 identifies excessive use of ALL CAPS and suggests avoiding the practice to improve readability.
  4. Large passages of underlined text look ugly and are hard to read. On the web underlined text can also be mistaken for a link. WC3 catches instances of underlined text and suggest avoiding it to improve readability.
  5. Multiple exclamation points should be avoided in professional writing. WC3 identifies instances of multiple exclamations points and suggests toning it down.
  6. Bold and italics should be used sparingly as it reduces readability of text. WC3 identifies excessive use of bold and italics.
  7. Don't use "Click Here" for links as it degrades web accessibility of the web page. WC3 catches instances of “click here” and suggests avoiding the practice.
    WriteClearly suggests not using "Click Here"
  8. Images on web pages should have alternative text to make the content understandable in screen readers. WC3 displays an alert when a page has images without alternative text.
  9. We also developed a new feature in WC3 to identify complex words and suggest simpler synonyms. You can try out different synonyms in context of the sentence. Over time, WC3 learns from the synonyms you try and lists most often chosen synonyms first. So use WriteClearly often and help us make it better!
    WriteClearly suggests synonyms
  10. In addition to all the new features, WriteClearly also calculates the Flesch-Kincaid Grade Level of a page.

Get WriteClearly at

Follow Abhijeet Chavan @LegalAidTech


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If you want to edit a hidden file (such as .htaccess) without dropping into Terminal, on [Open Files] dialog of a text editor, enter Shift-Command-. (dot).

Wish Finder has the feature too? A little work with Automator can achieve close enough effect.
More info on how to do this.