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Simple reading speed estimate in Jekyll

2 minute read #jekyll, #reading-speed

When browsing through off-the-shelf Jekyll themes recently I stumbled across one I really like called Pixyll. There are lots of things I like about the theme but one thing in particular is the reading speed estimate at the top of each article. Not only is it a nice feature but the code is simple and concise too!

The code was first contributed to the project by GitHub user WrinklyNinja and I decided I liked it so much I would add it to my own blog.

This simple one line of code (which I included immediately after my frontmatter) takes the number of words inside the content of your article and divides by 180 words per minute. This is lower than the generally accepted 200-250 words per minute of the average adult but I think having it a bit lower takes into account thoroughly reading through code snippets and looking at images.

{% assign minutes = content | number_of_words | divided_by: 180 %}

The next line simply rounds up from 0 if the article will take less than one minute to read.

{% if minutes == 0 %}{% assign minutes = 1 %}{% endif %}

Then to display the minute count on the page simply use the variable in whatever sentence you like.

A {{ minutes }} minute read

Taking it a bit further, Rassol made a nice addition which allows you to override the number of minutes in the pages YAML Frontmatter. However he decided to add the logic to the display code , I felt it would probably be better to add it to the calculation because there is no point in calculating it if it has already been specified.

My changes wrap around the first two lines to look like this.

{% if page.minutes %}
  {% assign minutes = page.minutes %}
{% else %}
  {% assign minutes = content | number_of_words | divided_by: 180 %}
  {% if minutes == 0 %}{% assign minutes = 1 %}{% endif %}
{% endif %}

And you can simply specify the number of minutes in the frontmatter.

minutes: 8

Adding a reading length to your article lets people know how long they need to spend on your content and make a quick decision about whether they have enough time to do so.

Have thoughts?

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