Reality Blog: Why the FK Readability Tests Matter to Web Writers


Is your web copy easy to read?

How do you achieve a balance between clear, simple language without sounding childish or patronizing to your audience?

The answer? Test your copy with the Flesch-Kincaid (FK) Readability Tests.

There are two tests:

  • Flesch Reading Ease
  • Flesch-Kincaid Grade Level

We’ll have a closer look at both in a moment. First though, let’s better understand the term “FK Readability.”

What is FK Readability?

FK Readability measures how easy a passage of copy is to read.

Mr. Flesch and Mr. Kincaid designed it for the U.S. Navy, who wanted a system to check whether their manuals were easy to read and understand.

Not a bad idea. You don’t really want to press the wrong Big Red Button and accidentally start WWIII…

Now, what are the two tests and why do they matter to you?

Flesch Reading Ease

Flesch Reading Ease breaks a passage of text down to a number between 0 and 100. It uses a formula which takes the number of words, sentences, and syllables, multiples by something else, and divides this and that by the other. Or something like that…

Do you really want to know the formula? Are you sure? Okay then, here it is:

Flesch Reading Ease = 206.835 – 1.015 x (Total Words/Total Sentences) – 84.6 x (Total Syllables/Total Words)

The higher number, the easier it is to read. But…

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Andrew Murray

Andrew Murray

Andrew has traded the daily grind for a life on the road. He loves the lure of Australia’s wide-open spaces, solitude and isolation. Andrew and his wife Peta are experienced remote travelers, living the simple life on the road. They travel, work and live in their 4x4 truck camper. Andrew plans to build his Money-Making Website Top Wire Traveller to the point where it provides a regular income... enough to sustain their lifestyle on the road.


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