For the last few months, I have been exploring in-depth the field of microcopy and UX writing. While I have started to analyze the meaning of words better, I am also focusing on how accessible the content is.
Let’s take a simple example.
When we are asked about the working days, we usually mention it as one of the following:
- Mon – Fri or M – F
- Monday – Friday
- Monday to Friday
But which is the best of the lot? And do they all mean the same?
For one, the best option definitely depends on who your target audience is. And two, they do not actually mean the same for everyone. Here’s how.
Generally, people are more used to understanding and referring to weekends than weekdays. That’s one reason to try to avoid using ‘weekdays’. It is more of a cognitive load than directly mentioning the actual days.
Secondly, weekdays can depend on the countries too. For example, weekdays in UAE are Sunday to Thursday, which is definitely different from various other countries.
Mon – Fri, M – F or Monday – Friday
While people familiar with this usage would be absolutely okay with it, remember that “M – F” doesn’t exactly make things very clear for others.
Also, for people using screen readers punctuations might be hard to understand. Even for people with learning disabilities. Whether that hyphen represents ‘Monday to Friday’ or ‘Monday and Friday’ isn’t immediately clear and takes more understanding.
While we might believe that a simple symbol would mean less visual/interpretive effort than the cognitive “process” of joining two letters into a word, we do need to spare a thought for the people for whom it wouldn’t be that direct.
And again, imagine a screen reader reading Mon – Fri as “Monday minus Friday”!
Monday to Friday
If space allows, this would be the option I recommend going with. It has the least cognitive load, makes things clear, and is easy for people who use screen readers.
As I said earlier, the final call depends on who your target audience is, the medium where this would be needed, the familiarity of your audience with these terminologies, etc.
There is no ‘one-fit-for-all’ solution. Just seemingly better options to choose from.
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Source: Content + UX Slack Group Poker face