It’s a great question, and like many simple questions, it can be hard to provide a good answer. Here’s a practical way to approach it.
Just set a readability target by using well-known novels as a benchmark. And use those scores as your guideline. For example, use the readability score for Harry Potter, or Issac Asimov as a reference point.
Why it works so well
Everyone can relate to well-known novels. So it’s much easier to say “well, we’re writing for kids, therefore try to have a readability score close to Harry Potter.” Or if you’re writing content with a more technical subject matter, you might compare with Issac Asimov. And just say, “Just try to write as well as Issac Asimov.” This is a far better approach than offering a subjective opinion like; “I don’t think your writing is that clear.”
Turns out in fact, that when we scored these 3 novels:
- Harry Potter – The Philosophers Stone (JK Rowling),
- The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy (Douglas Adams) and
- The Best of Issac Asimov (Issac Asimov)
using VT Writer, they have very similar readability scores. Instinctively, you might expect Issac Asimov to be less readable than Harry Potter.