Most readers are aware that some texts, whatever their content, seem to "hang together" better than others and are therefore easier to read. In part, this is a function of how they conform to expectations about text types (rhetorical organisation) but is mainly a function of how they "cohere". Coherence normally refers to discourse relations which may or may not be explicitly signalled whereas cohesive devices are surface, textual indicators of interconnectiveness. Used well, these devices can greatly contribute to text readability.
In order to facilitate readability consider:
- Highlighting conjunctions or other relation signalling devices;
- Providing questions designed to provoke thought about the relations which hold;
- Providing a relational map of the text;
- Adding conjunctions of other signalling devices where appropriate;
- Making sure that relations which are easily marked (e.g. list, enumeration) are in fact so signalled;
- Replacing pronoun anaphors with more explicit noun anaphors;
- Replacing synonym anaphors with repeated noun (or indicate possible replacements between lines or with hypertext);
- Where antecedents are distant indicating the connections (with line or with hypertext links);
- Checking that where text has been edited (e.g. sentences inserted), that anaphor - antecedent links are still clear;
- "Filling out" obscure ellipsis and using repetition rather than substitution (or provide print or hypertext glosses).