Readability and Writing

Photo: Lisa Fotios,

Writing in a fast-paced media-rich world is an essential skill for today’s writers. Modern writers need to construct information that is simple to understand, based on in-depth knowledge, and must seek continual improvement. Writers also need to consider the readability of a piece. An unreadableThe world needs accurate, reliable, and readable writing.

Jonathan Swan, Axios

The founders of set out to design a website that makes news more accessible to readers. The site reports information in a hyper condensed style. The website lacks many photos, advertisements, and

Jonathan Swan is the national political correspondent for Axios news. Reporting political information can to be a challenging task. I admire Johnathan’s writing style, as he breaks complicated content down to the most straightforward point. This simplified writing style allows readers to understand his point, efficiently quickly, and effectively. 

An Axios Excerpt:

A screenshot of a Johnathan Swan article

Swan writes clear, concise sentences, uses bold headlines, and uses bullet points that streamlines information. Readers can read and understand these stories that feature heavy political themes in a matter of minutes. I enjoy the succinct nature of his writing, and  is a perfect example of content that is readable. 

Adam Greenberg, Sociology of the Cellphone

Adam Greenberg is an author of  “Radical Technologies: The Design of Everyday Life” I do admire Adam Greenberg’s writing, and his arguments of cellphone disruption is fascinating and compelling. When compared to the writing style of Johnathan Swan, his style is the complete opposite. Greenfield writes verbose, lengthy articles loaded with beautiful descriptive words. His article “Sociology of the Smartphone” takes readers 27 minutes to complete, and the text is heavily laid out.

A screenshot of Adam Greenfield’s article posted on

It takes Greenfield many paragraphs to explain how technology has disrupted communication. It probably could be more useful to be able just to tell readers the same thing in one section. I also find Greenfield’s vocabulary quite advanced and loaded with technical jargon. I feel like the average reader would be confused when reading his article. I had to reread paragraphs multiple times to fully understand what he was trying to communicate.

Greenfield writes:

“ It fuses globally dispersed infrastructures of vertiginous scale and expense—the original constellation of American NAVSTAR Global Positioning System satellites, and its Russian, European and Chinese equivalents; fleets of camera- and Lidarequipped cars, sent to chart every navigable path on the planet; map servers racked in their thousands, in data centers on three continents; and the wired and wireless network that yokes them all together—to a scatter of minuscule sensors on the handset itself, and all of this is mobilized every time the familiar blue dot appears on the screen.”

Adam Greenfield, “Sociology of the Cellphone”

I had to stop reading to define “vertiginous.” I also had to stop reading to research the topic of “Lidarequipped cars.”  The article that suggested it took 27 minutes to read actually took much longer, as I had to stop to figure out what he was discussing on other websites. It was a fascinating article but not written efficiently.

Regardless of readability, both writers have two different audiences. They each write superbly, but vary in style.

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