Macquarie University research underpins all the guidelines offered in relation to Australian English and style, and advice on the readability of print and online documents. The style principles and practices recommended are based on a broad base of empirical evidence, including large corpora (text databases) and sociolinguistic surveys. Its testing and assessment services are based on current usability research and experimental techniques.
The research underpinning the appraisal of print documents and websites is both quantitative and qualitative, using cognitive indicators, user protocols, readability measures and structural analyses. Professional testing services are offered in document and website appraisal.
Document appraisal makes use of readability measures to assess the inherent difficulty of the text, and its consistency in complex documents. The structure of the text, including use of headings and paragraphing, is taken into account, as is the use of graphics and photos to supplement the verbal text, and the kinds of user needs they address.
Website appraisal is based on quantifiable measures, including eye-tracking and performance data associated with extracting information from the website. It also makes use of visitors’ comments on their experience of using the website, correlated with their eye movements and use of mouse clicks, for in-depth analysis of the user experience.
Recent research references
Testing: approaches and methods