Readable Content: Good vs. Bad
The peak of the striped bass fishing season is nearly upon us, and I decided to find two blog posts that break down stock numbers and how the decline of the species could impact bag limits – or the number of fish that a person can keep each day.
The blogs I chose are on very different in terms of readability.
The first, which was posted on www.fishingbooker.com, is extremely readable, while the second, posted on oneanglersvoyage.blogspot.com, looks like a running column of text.
What caught my eye initially when I visited the fishingbooker.com blog was how straight forward and to the point the title, The 2019 Striped Bass Fishing Season Closures: Explained, was.
Along with a clear and concise title, the author, who is identified as Sean, provides photos, graphics, readable statistics and subheads.
The Australian Government published a document that describes what good content looks like (Government, 2019).
“Headings are the first words users read to check the relevance of content before they commit to reading it,” the document reads. “Make headings short and succinct enough to stand alone when read out of context, for example in search results and in social media.”
It also says Google searches only show 55 characters, and this heading is 56 with spaces, and even less without.
Sean also does a good job using sub headers to break up the sections into readable chunks.
The document says to
“break up blocks of text and draw the reader in with short interesting headings.”
When dealing with a complicated issue such as the reasoning behind bag limits, that to many fishermen, seem unfair and completely out whack, Sean’s main goal should be to break it down for these everyday Joes.
He nails it.
The lead, while it is a bit clunky, is a good introduction to the issue, and in it, Sean addresses the who, what, were, when and why. Sean also offers a call to action, letting readers know he is going to tell them what the fishing season closures mean to them
Then Sean goes into why people like Stripers and why their populations are important before dropping some numbers from the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission, who announced closures and limits.
One graph, which was taken from the ASMFC, shows a decline in female fish that are mature enough to spawn, while other points to recreational anglers as the biggest threat to these populations.
Sean uses bold text to stress key numbers and hyperlinks for readers to find out more information about the report.
The Australian Government’s guide says to think about how the content will look on a mobile device before the bigger screen (Government, 2019), and Sean uses a platform that is mobile-friendly, meaning, the site shows well on cellphones because it is responsive.
The other blog, posted on Oneanglersvoyage.blogspot.com, has a good introduction that lets the reader know the author’s background and why it should matter when it comes to striped bass.
Other than that, the page is all text and has some funky alignment issues. Not only that, but the page is not responsive and appears poorly on mobile devices.
Sub headers could have been utilized to break up the text, key points should have been separated better than in just quotes, and graphics could have been used to accompany the text.
The headline of the blogger’s post, Striped Bass: A Deafening Silence, is short and to the point, which the content document said is important.
But hyperlinks do not appear to exist anywhere on the page unless, but they do.
When you move your mouse over the text, blocks of text highlight in yellow showing it is clickable, but I was honestly afraid to click on anything out of fear my computer may get infected.
The blogger could have done a better job separating the topics and making key points stick out.
The site is not designed for mobile displays, and when visited on a Samsung Galaxy S9 the reader is expected to scroll horizontally, taking away from a clean and good experience.
Australian Government. (2019) Content structure – Content Guide. Retrieved November 02, 2019, from https://guides.service.gov.au/content-guide/content-structure/
Sean. (2019) The 2019 Striped Bass Fishing Season Closures: Explained. Retrieved November 02, 2019, from https://fishingbooker.com/blog/2019-striped-bass-fishing-season-closures/
Unknown. (2019) ONE ANGLER’S VOYAGE: STRIPED BASS: A DEAFENING SILENCE. Retrieved November 02, 2019, from http://oneanglersvoyage.blogspot.com/2019/08/striped-bass-deafening-silence.html