Jakob Nielsen has anarticle on Low Literacy Users.
I think this might be very helpful for developmental writing students as well.
lower-literacy users can’t understand a text by glancing at it. They must read word for word and often spend considerable time trying to understand multi-syllabic words.
Then, there is this point:
lower-literacy users often simply pick the first hit on the list, even if it’s not the most appropriate for their needs.
This explains why sometimes students have a hard time finding sources.
I wonder how much this would apply to college composition courses:
usability isn’t a small tweak at the margins â€” it doubles a website’s ability to meet its goals.