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Financial services websites fail readability tests

Content on financial services websites is poorly written and half as readable as it should be, according to a study.

Research carried out by readability tech business VisibleThread analysed written content on the websites of 69 financial asset management firms. The average readability score recorded was 36.22 – where a score of 60 represents good. Just one of the firms analysed, Putnam Investments, achieved that target.

The 2018 Website Clarity Index for Global Asset Management analysis looked at four separate metrics: Readability (based on the Flesch Reading Ease index); Passive language (proportion of sentences with passive construction); Long sentences (in excess of 25 words), and; Complex word density (the proportion of complex words relative to total word count).

The financial services businesses rated used the passive voice at three times the recommended level, and long sentences averaged 25%, where the target is just 5%.

VisibleThread warned those firms that failed to meet the standards would miss out on increased response rate to calls to action, improved customer satisfaction and loyalty, and lower admin costs associated with lighter call volumes to customer support lines.

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