Why reading is like running

Here is a short video I made about how reading is like running. If you test your content with users, your readers will not feel like this.


Reading is like running because it is easy to stumble and fall while you are looking ahead. Our user testing will show you how to write to your users so that they read without stumbling.

Neuroscience teaches us that readers suffer from cognitive overload when they try to understand complex content. That is why they stop reading.

The business benefits to expect:

  • Reduced load on your call centre
  • Greater engagement with your brand
  • More customers using your self-service options
  • Resolving organisational disputes about language

When to test your content

Test pieces of content when:

  • The risk of you miscommunicating is high – perhaps this is the only chance you will get so you need to get it right first time.
  • When misunderstanding by your customers costs you money – through repeated calls to the call centre for example.
  • The message you need to convey is both complex and important.
  • When you are reviewing and rewriting all of your content.

What to test

Examples of content that we have tested include:

  • Landing pages
  • Renewal notices and statements
  • Claim and complaint letters
  • ‘How to’ brochures
  • Product disclosure statements
  • Fact Sheets
  • and more!

User testing will show you

User testing shows you whether your users will

  • Find the information they need
  • Read your content – and why or why not
  • Understand your content – and why or why not
  • Will act on your content – and why or why not

How we can help

We would love to help you communicate more clearly with your users, customers and members.

We use a combination of qualitative research-based user testing, informed by plain language, behavioural science, and AI. Find out more – contact Sue.

contact Sue.

Susan Bell Founder & Lead Consultant
Sue Bell, Founder & Lead Consultant

We would love to hear from you, and are always happy to talk through research methods and options with you, if you are not sure what you need. Why not get in touch for a free, obligation-free, and confidential conversation.

Find out more about Susan Bell Research.

Keep up to date with new thinking about user testing, research with ‘older’ people, different research methods, and much more.

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