Ravelry Readability Survey

Ravelry heading saying 'There are not stupid questions here.
There are some very stupid questions in your ‘readability’ survey

This started out as a quick post about moving most of my patterns to Payhip.  I haven’t finished that either. I thought I had better check in to Ravelry to see if there were any developments.  My goodness me, Ladies and Gentlemen, we present Ravelry who have created a superb example of how NOT to do a readability survey

I am so astonished and speechless I really don’t know where to begin.  I had intended to leave my Ravelry comments in my original post but feel I have to write about this.

Firstly, it starts out asking questions about your individual settings.  This should be ok, but it actually feels like they are nagging and saying – have you tried these options?  Yes thank you Ravelry, I do know about these and I have some of them selected.  I also have other options selected in my browser.  So, alright, I’ll stay on side and keep going.  They then present you with a myriad of options that in a way resemble the experience at the optician when they say ‘clearer this way or that’ as they spin the lens in front of your eye.  Each page has two or three images of an identical page with a slight change on each image and the reader is asked to choose the one they prefer. 
There are a number of issues with these questions. 

  1. All the questions involve images of text – not text itself.  The issue isn’t with images it is with text and how it is displayed on a page.  This is not the same.  
  2. They don’t tell you how what has changed in each image. Why not? 
  3. The images are far too small to differentiate on the question page, so you need to click on a shortened link to see the full size.  Neither the small images or the larger ones that are linked are not named, numbered or identified in any way, so you can’t correlate the image in a new tab with the ones on the question page. I had to open them all more then once, and note in which tab they opened in before I could even work out which image I was looking at.  I am still not convinced that chose the right option on each question. This is appalling – no other word for it. 
  4. The changes between each image are very slight – the colour of a border, a slight change in contrast or the spacing between lines.  
  5. Readability isn’t just ‘do you prefer this or that’ it involves asking people to navigate and read content with a variety of options. 
  6. It is far far far too long.  

There are probably other issues, but I wasn’t expecting to have to write this today.  I may revisit this issue tomorrow.  Whatever the Ravelry team are doing they really really need some expert accessibility and usability advice. They are compounding their original mess with this utter nonsense of a survey.


  1. Rather than asking people to adjust their computer settings, why not correct the problems with the website. Period. I know people who spend plenty of time on the computer and are well-versed with navigating the interwebz, but would have no idea how to adjust their computer settings.


  2. I started the survey. There are duplicate questions with the images in different orders. I don’t want to be “that person”, but I think they are looking to catch people in a contradiction. If I selected one image the first time around, and another image the second time around, then they may just blow off my responses. Are they trying to deceive us? Pull up pages 17 and 22 and put the images of the darker color scheme side by side and there is literally no difference.


    • Thanks Regina, I completely agree. The whole feel of the survey is one of trying to catch the user out. It is based on a position of ‘we know better than you’. It is so completely wrong in so many ways – not least that you read and use a website by reading and using it. If their readers say they find it difficult, then they find it difficult. It is really that simple. I really could rant for a long time about this – along with the fact there is no opportunity to feed back to them – grrrrrr and harrumph!


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