I write a number of policy documents for my job. I find the best documents I write are those which are easy to read, have active sentences and have a general reading score suitable for most of the population. To help me work this out, I use the Flesch-Kincaid tool incorporated in Word. This tells me my score on Passive Sentences, Reading Ease and Grade Level.
To get your score you highlight the document and it gives you the average for the document. However, it does not give you the score for individual paragraphs, nor does it suggest changes which could be carried out to make it less complex.
An alternative tool I use to help me do this is [[url removed, login to view]]
As you can see, it provides six different rating scores, and when you press 'submit', it identifies the complex words.
However, to make a paragraph simpler requires you to make the changes and then repeat the process. To do this for a whole document is time-consuming and tedious. You have to highlight a paragraph, copy, go to website, paste, press submit, rewrite, and repeat and repeat the process until you have something you like.
I want to solve this problem with a web based tool to encourage good quality simple writing. We have outlined the project in two sections below.
# Phase 1
I require a web based tool which can:
Give me my score for each paragraph, page and document
Update the score in real time in relation to changes to the paragraph
Ideally, I would like the following two main features:
* Show your original paragraph and your newly edited paragraph side by side. This allows you to see your original paragraph and your edited one and the corresponding scores for each. I imagine you would step through the document simplifying a paragraph at a time.
* Suggestions to make your paragraph easier to read. Attached is a pdf of how changes to words can make paragraphs and sentences easier to read. It would be great to have a mechanism by which phrases can be identified and alternatives suggested. A database which can be added to would be ideal. As that database is updated, then these changes could be reflected in the app.
You can see from the pdf an idea of how this process would look in Word but of course we are thinking of a web based solution. Each paragraph would have the basic statistics of that paragraph, as evidenced in boxes 1, 2 and 3. In each box, the following statistics would be available:
Passive sentence %
Flesch Reading ease score
Flesch-Kincaid Grade level
As you make changes in v2, then the statistics should update as near automatically as possible. We can then see that for paragraph 1 we would have slightly different scores, for paragraph 2 the scores would be the same and there would be a substantial difference for paragraph 3.
Boxes A and B would have the same statistics for the entire document.
# Phase 2
I would like to make the software available to all so would like a basic and a premium version.
The basic version would contain the information as above.
The premium version would have additional features and would be paid for. For example, I'd like it to be supported by a database which could identify certain words or phrases and offer replacements for them. A number of these examples can be found in the document 'Simplification' which I've attached. I've included an example below:
In my work, people often write the phrase '**in the event that**' whereas they could just use the word '**if**'**.** The simplification document has a lot of other examples which I would like to include.
I would like a database to support that search function and offer alternatives automatically. By hovering over a suggestion, then people could tick or cross the suggestion.
People should be able to update their own database if desired. This might mean having an account for each person. That way they can personalise it to suit their own requirements.
They should also be able to download updates to the software. Part of that updates would also include other examples of how sentences could be simplified. For example, they could get an update which offers to add the following insertions to their website
'in the event that' to be replaced by 'if'
We would like this to be a web based project running on Apache/PHP/MySQL
I am happy to discuss how the project should be developed and implemented. If you have any questions regarding the attached then please let me know.
It would be helpful if you could quote a price for both Phase 1 & Phase 2 and then we would proceed depending on the available budget.