If the text on your site is more advanced than a lower secondary education reading level (that is, 9 years of schooling), you should provide either supplemental content or an alternate version of the text that is not so complex. Even professionals in a given field can have certain reading disorders, like dyslexia, which may make it especially hard to decode dense, complex language.
When you’re checking the reading level of your site, make sure to include a representative sample of each style or “type” of writing that appears on your site. Similarly, if your site contains multiple languages, you should measure the readability for each language included. For example, if your blog about different types of cheese features both scholarly breakdowns of cheese composition, and humorous anecdotes related to your day-to-day cheese experiences, you’d want to test both the technical writing and the anecdotal writing.
There are some useful online resources that can help you determine reading level. For instance, Juicy Studio’s Readability Test provides algorithms you can use to calculate how advanced your text is, and their site also contains a form for testing short pieces of content.
This rule has been categorized as AAA.
For more information on WCAG conformance levels, check out our post on conformance.
If you do wish to conform your site to this rule, the Plain Language Association International’s and the U.S. Government’s Plain Language websites both contain information and resources that will help you produce text that communicates clearly and effectively.