"You need: 360 points" - short, simple, plain English words. From the writers' point of view, the essential message here is only "360." The writers assumed everyone would understand what the rest of the words mean.
For anyone already enrolled at the university, that assumption is probably valid. Students know this is saying you need to accumulate 360 course points to get an undergraduate degree in this field (like credits to graduate with a major at a U. S. university).
But Caroline and Whitney were investigating how well the site works for newcomers to The Open University. And many of those people had a different understanding of those few simple words.
For this audience, a few more words are needed: "To get a degree in this field, you must take enough courses to earn 360 points."
This story illustrates how important it is to
• understand what your web users know and don't know
• do usability testing with the web users you are focusing on
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