BlackRock website ‘least readable’: study

BlackRock website ‘least readable’: study

From Ignites Europe with Mary McDougall

Published: August 30, 2019

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BlackRock’s website has been ranked lowest in terms of readability in an annual study of 60 of the largest asset managers’ online presence.

The US firm was found to have the hardest to understand and least accessible content, according to plain language experts VisibleThread, which carried out the survey.

According to VisibleThread, the average score for asset managers’ readability is lower than an academic paper on chess.

“Forcing readers to concentrate on content written at a college level degree disengages them,” the report says, adding “nobody wants to work hard mentally to understand your message”.

While BlackRock scored badly on readability, it did better on sentence length, word simplicity and use of the passive voice – the three other indicators measured by VisibleThread using artificial intelligence and natural language processing.

Across all four criteria, Macquarie Asset Management scored worst with Manulife Asset Management and Standard Life Investments close behind.

Principal Global Investors had the greatest over-use of complex words, while Manulife was guilty of the longest sentences.

The research found that on average asset managers used long sentences on their websites five times more than the appropriate level.

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