If you have questions about Viooly, or encounter issues while using it, please send us an email and be sure to include your preferred method of contact (e.g., email or phone number). We will get back to you as soon as we can. In most cases, this will be within one business day.
Frequently Asked Questions
- Q: How does Viooly work?
- A: Viooly acts as a “mirror” so we can better “see” how others feel when they read what we are writing about causes and our solutions to address them. The tool, built on a natural language processing platform, allows users to analyze content by running a series of diagnostics to determine how the copy performs against known barriers in communications about causes and social impact. The diagnostic assessments include:
- ReadabilityHow understandable is your writing?
- WarmthHow is your writing connecting?
- PowerWhat dynamic is your writing conveying?
- Q: Why was Viooly created?
- A: Viooly was created to help those writing about global development ensure that what they are accomplishing doesn’t get lost in translation. We’re making great strides in global development, but our messages of success aren’t getting through to audiences. The tool was later adapted to reflect certain universal truths that impact all cause communication. The tool acts like spell check, but instead of showing spelling mistakes, it tells you what in your writing may be keeping someone else from understanding the impact of your work.
- Q: What core issues does Viooly address?
- A: Viooly's analysis is based on three common issues that researchers have identified as influencing how audiences see development in other countries. These are barriers that get in the way of people understanding the true impact of our work.
It’s too complicated.People don’t understand written descriptions of foreign development because the writing is too complex. From acronyms and large numbers to general industry jargon, people don’t get what we’re trying to say.
It’s difficult to connect.People aren't able to see the personal and human ramifications of building the foundations of independence. Thus, they don’t feel connected to those who benefit from self-sufficiency.
People don’t see the impact.People believe foreign development is simply the transfer of cash between governments and it doesn’t lead to helping someone directly.
- Q: How can Viooly improve my organization’s communications?
- A: Viooly can make your organization’s communications more accessible to the reader. How? By using the tips provided by the three assessments, you can improve how your writing reads, connects and shows the impact of your work. More specifically, Viooly runs three diagnostic series — Readability, Warmth and Power — against a total of 10 different measures to show you how your copy performs against the above-mentioned barriers.
Readability: How understandable is your writing?
- Reading Ease & Grade Level Using the Flesh-Kincaid scale, which measure word and syllable count, the tool determines the reading level for your piece.
- Sentence Length The tool calculates the number of words in each sentence, recommending that most sentences be kept to less than 20 words in length.
- Word Complexity The tool measures the number of syllables in each word as an expression of its complexity. Using words with fewer syllables generally increases ease of understanding.
Warmth: How is your writing connecting?
- Verb Tense Audiences connect more when they feel they are part of the action (versus than when the action has already happened). The tool identifies verbs used in present and present participle forms, past tense, and infinitive forms. It recommends phrasing at least half of the verbs in present or present participle forms.
- Concreteness Research shows you can create stronger connections with specific and tangible word choice. Using an extensive database of over 5,000 terms, the tool identifies both “concrete” and “abstract” terminology.
- Number Use Heavy use of numbers, especially abstract or large figures, make it difficult for readers to conceptualize. The tool highlights numbers and recommends breaking larger numbers down into smaller expressions.
- Words That Work Research from The Narrative Project identified terms and phrasing that are more persuasive to readers. The tool positively measures use of these words.
Power: What dynamic is your writing conveying?
- Actors Adding a human element to your narrative by referring to specific people can make your writing more powerful. The tool highlights actors as people, organizations or political entities and recommends using people as at least half of them in your writing.
- Status The tool assesses the use of conveying verbs to determine relationships between the actors – independent, partners, or dependent. Verbs that convey independence or partnership are viewed in a more positive light by readers than those that convey dependence.
- Aspirations The tool analyzes the mood of your writing by calculating the use of conditional, subjunctive, indicative and imperative phrasing. Conditional and subjunctive phrases show opportunity and/or the promise of future action, and are more engaging and powerful to readers.
- Q: Does Viooly work for every piece of communications?
- A: In a word, no. Viooly works for most communications materials that are targeted to external audiences. While the tool can analyze anything from a tweet to a longer speech, there are nuances to the tool that do not make it suitable for every piece of communication. As the author, you are the best person to decide if Viooly’s results make sense given your material’s audience and intended outreach.
- Q: How does the tool calculate scores and show results?
- A: The tool’s “scoring” system is based on a scale of 0 to 10, shaded in gradients from orange (0) to green (10). These scores are calculated by the tool’s unique software for each metric. Scores that are shown in bright green will rank closer to 10 and indicate that the copy may be more positive and persuasive to readers. In contrast, scores in darker shades of green/brown/orange (0 to 5) are reflective of phrasing that might be more difficult for readers to understand, connect, or view positively. Corresponding underlines and shading of terms distinguishes the specific results within the actual copy and identifies how the tool analyzed the term, phrase, or sentence.
- Q: What are considered “good” and “bad” scores?
- A: We recognize that writing can be subjective – it is clearly an art form and there are limitations to this tool. Viooly does not operate to report “good” and “bad” scores. Instead, it works to highlight words, phrasing and sentences that may have a more positive or negative impact on your audience. Sometimes, there’s a perfectly acceptable reason for a low score. Ultimately, as the author, you’re the best judge of what content should and should not be changed. Think of the tool as someone holding up a mirror so you can take a better look.
- Q: What about hashtags, symbols and headlines? Do I need to worry about formatting?
- A: Formatting does not make a substantial difference, but it can affect some scores. The tool recognizes most symbols like bullet points and hashtags, but for optimal performance, you may want to remove these symbols. Make sure there are spaces between periods. (When copying and pasting your text into Viooly, sentences may run together sometimes.) It is also good to remove headlines or sub-headlines, so that they do not run into the first sentence of a paragraph.
- Q: The progress indicator icon keeps spinning without showing any results and/or the tool appears to be frozen. Is it broken? What should I do?
- A: This is a pilot tool and while we have attempted to test every piece of language (e.g. words, numbers, symbols, abbreviations, etc.), the tool may get tripped up on a certain piece of text. If this happens and the progress indicator keeps spinning, log out of your account and then sign in again. It's also helpful if you can send us an email (firstname.lastname@example.org) with the text that caused the tool to freeze. We will troubleshoot the problem text and work to prevent it from happening again.
- Q: Does Viooly check spelling or grammar?
- A: No, the tool will not highlight or identify misspelled words or grammatical errors. We recommend you use another tool or software for these purposes (e.g., the Spelling & Grammar tool in Microsoft Word) – or a solid proofreader.
- Q: How do I save a document?
- A: Once your copy is entered into a document (by manually typing or copying and pasting) and you have analyzed the text, then you will have the option to Save it (in upper right toolbar next to “What they see”). Be sure to label it by re-naming the “Untitled Document” in the center of the page. If you want to save different versions of a draft to see which one performs better, you can make edits to the document, and then select Save As and give it a different title. You can easily find your saved documents, by going to My Documents at any time.
- Q: How do I print a document to show the scores with others on my team?
- A: Go into the document you want to print, and then click on Print in the right toolbar (next to Save As). This will bring up your Print dialog box, and you can choose which printer to use, which pages to print, and how many copies to make, etc. The four major scores – Readability, Warmth, Power and Overall Scores – will print out in the upper right corner of the page. In addition, the individual score for the metric your screen shows at the time of printing (e.g., Reading Ease) will also be printed at the top of the page, and those metrics will be highlighted in your printed document. So if you want to specifically look at the printed results of a certain metric, such as Verb Tense, be sure to select Verb Tense first, and then Print.
- Q: I’ve made some revisions to my document and improved my draft. Now what?
- A: If you like the revisions you made and want to keep them, select Save As in the right toolbar and you will be prompted to give your document a new title. Or, if you don’t care about saving over your previous draft (and deleting the previous version), you can simply select Save and it will keep all of your revisions in the current document.
- Q: Is there a way to download text from Viooly?
- A: It is not possible to “download” a document from Viooly, but you can create a PDF version to share with colleagues. Select the Print option in the right toolbar and when the Print dialog box appears, you should have the option to “Save as PDF” and/or “Open PDF in Preview.” This will allow you to save a print-ready version of the document to your desktop.
- Q: Can I upload a document to have it analyzed in Viooly?
- A: Unfortunately, Viooly does not yet have the capacity to upload documents or text for analyzing in the tool. For now, you have to either manually type text into the toolbox or copy and paste.
- Q: The tool is not recognizing a term correctly. How can I ignore it or change it so that it recognizes it correctly moving forward?
- A: This is currently a pilot project and we are in an evaluation phase. Your input is valuable to us. If the tool is not doing something that you would like it to do, please share your feedback by emailing us at email@example.com.
- Q: What if I want to add a term to the database’s “dictionary” like the name of an NGO so the tool knows to recognize it as organization?
- A: If there is a term or phrase that is used with regularity in your communications, please send us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org. We are trying to build a comprehensive “dictionary” for those working in causes, and we are happy to consider new terms for inclusion. If it makes sense, we will add it to the database.
- Q: If I have any questions, who should I contact and how?
- A: You can e-mail us at email@example.com.
How Viooly Works
- Q: Who developed Viooly?
- A: Viooly is being developed by GALEWiLL Design, in collaboration with the data visualization firm, Periscopic.
- Q: What is the relationship between Viooly and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation?
- A: Viooly was originally made possible by a generous grant from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.
- Q: What is Natural Language Processing?
- A: Natural language processing (NLP) is a field of computer science, artificial intelligence, and linguistics concerned with the interactions between computers and human (natural) languages. NLP is related to the field of human-computer interaction. We are using NLP software to check your text for common issues that get in the way of people understanding how we support development in other countries.
- Q: What other kinds of research was used in the development of Viooly?
- A: Initially, we conducted extensive research on how the development community communicates and examined best practices in message development. The building block of this research was a study entitled, “Foreign Aid Research Findings and Recommendations,” by The Winston Group and YOUGOV. Other studies included works by George Lakoff and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, as well as The Narrative Project. We examined and analyzed a great deal of content by organizations within the development community. We also consulted with linguists.
- Q: How does Viooly integrate with research from The Narrative Project?
- A: We use language from The Narrative Project, such as messages found in the User Guide, within the tool so that there is consistency and reinforcement of effective messaging. We also incorporated a fourth Warmth measure called “Words That Work” to identify key phrases or terms that traditionally perform well for all audiences, including those known as “Skeptics.” We have made reference to The Narrative Project in appropriate sections of the tool.
- Q: Can I share Viooly with anyone?
- A: Yes, we encourage you to. Currently viooly is open for public release. Everyone is eligible for a free trial period, after which you will be asked if you would like to continue using the tool for a nominal monthly fee, consistent with similar types of software tools. Please note that we ask that each user have their own account and that accounts not be shared, per our service agreement. If you have questions about sharing it with anyone, please refer to the Service Agreement or contact us directly at firstname.lastname@example.org.