Personal tools

Hemingway App

Edit your writing with the Hemingway App to increase readability.

Hemingway Editor

It might be easy to overlook readability when discussing accessibility. In reality, readability is foundational to accessible content. Content should have a middle school reading level (WCAG Success Criterion 3.1.5).

Copy and paste the text into the Hemingway app and get immediate readability feedback:

  • Identify the grade reading level of the writing.
  • Highlight the use of passive voice and adverbs.
  • Provide simpler alternatives for complex or lengthy words.
  • Spotlight difficult-to-read sentences.

Watch the Hemingway App in Action

Video Transcript

[Begins at 1:00.]

Today I want to share with you a free app called the Hemingway app. You can find it at Hemingwayapp.com, and that's precisely its purpose: to take whatever you have written and to help you make it bold and clear. Here's how the Hemingway app works. When you first visit Hemingwayapp.com, it's actually going to pre-populate the editor with some text, some default text, and it's gonna actually help you explain what the Hemingway editor does. I'm gonna start with some of the metrics and some of the data that it's showing us here on the right-hand side of the screen. First, it gives us a readability grade and, in this case, it's saying that the text over here on the left is a grade 6 readability. It's saying that that is good. Now it's my experience that as this grade level goes down a bit closer to I think grade 3 or grade four, this "good" actually turns to "great" and you know you want to think about that for a second. Think of the variety of people who may be consuming your content. These are people from various different backgrounds, whether it's socioeconomic backgrounds or just language where something like English may be their second or third language. You want to make sure that you're communicating at a level that the most amount of people can digest it and consume it with ease. Now it's also going to give us some other metrics here such as you know word count and character count. You're going to find that almost anywhere including a basic word document, but it also has an estimated reading time which might be helpful. How long would you expect someone to take to read this content? But the really good stuff I think is the colorful stuff that you will find down here, and this acts as both a guide and a bit of a key as to what is happening here on the screen in front of us. You can see that many of these sentences and and several of the words are highlighted in different colors. What exactly does that mean? So let's go through them one by one. The first one highlighted blue is highlighting adverbs and, depending on how much you have written, it's gonna tell you what your goal is or sort of what the minimum is, and here it says that it's found two adverbs meeting the goal of two or fewer. Again, this is based on how many total words are in the article or in the document. If you write more words, well, you're gonna be permitted more adverbs, but you can use this information and decide you want to omit these adverbs or change them or are you fine with them. the green one is similar, but this time it's looking at the passive voice, and again it says that you should aim for two or fewer based on the number of words here, and they are highlighted in green. Now the purplish shade has to do with using simpler words, and they will provide a simpler alternative. So here in the second paragraph, you can see that in their default text, they've used the word "utilize." You can utilize a shorter word in place of a purple one. Well, there is a simpler alternative to utilize. One, we can use their suggestion. If you hover over that text, it's going to give you a suggestion: we can either replace it or maybe just try to omit it altogether. If I like the suggestion I can click on it, and it just replaces it, and there you can see that now that purplish shade is gone, I can move on to something else and decide if I want to make changes there as well. The last two shades, the first one is yellow, and then the last one sort of a reddish pinkish has to do with the complexity of a sentence. And yellow are identified as sentences that are hard to read. Here you see, we have an opening sentence, and then the pinkish color identifies sentences that are very hard to read. Now the great thing about the Hemingway app is that you can edit this and it can make the changes dynamically. So in this first sentence, a simple fix would be just to split this one up. I'm going to delete and put a period there and let's put a capital there, on the on the "if" and now you can see that that yellow is gone. It's a much easier sentence to read for the audience to come along and consume this and hopefully continue to read the rest of this article or this this report. Now you, of course, don't need to make all of these changes to make your writing as clear and concise as possible, but what I do like about the Hemingway app is that it highlights these facts. And then you can make the decision if you want to make changes if you want to make these edits based on the recommendations here. Now, one thing is I don't recommend that you actually do your writing within the Hemingway app. If I select everything here and delete it, I can easily get a blank screen, and I can start to type out my-my article or maybe my website content. But this is a web app, and so nothing is actually being saved as I go along. The second reason why I don't recommend that you write within the Hemingway Editor is that with all of these shades that are coming up as you write, sometimes that can be a little tricky in terms of identifying. You know, you can get stuck on a certain passage and say "oh well maybe I should say it this way or say it that way," when what you're looking for is more of a flow, right. Where you're looking to just get things down on the screen and not really think about editing. Editing should always really be the second part of the writing process.

[Ends at 6:45.]

Who the Hemingway App Helps

APS webmasters and writers should use the Hemingway app before posting online. Easier-to-read content helps everyone:

  • People may have a learning disability, such as dyslexia.
  • English might be someone's second or third language.
  • Mobile readers skim content.

How the Hemingway App Works

  1. Go to HemingwayApp.com.
  2. Paste your content into the app editor. Editing tips will immediately appear.
  3. Hover over highlighted text to read the full suggestions.

Recommendation

Where possible and appropriate, we recommend a reading level of Grade 7 to 9 and lower.