People rarely read web pages word by word; instead, they scan the page, picking out individual words and sentences. Research on how people read websites found that 79% of test users always scanned any new page they came across; only 16% read word-by-word.
Get To the Point
- When a user visits your website you have about 5 seconds to grab their attention before they click off.
- A good site gives users the information that they need quickly and efficiently.
The Five Second Test
- Go to one of the important pages on your site - one that should drive key goals.
- Now, look at that page for 5 seconds or, better yet, ask someone not familiar with your page to view it.
- Remember, no more than 5 seconds!
- Now - have them name what stood out, was it clear what action you’re wanted them to take?
Solution - Use Scannable Text
- Highlighted keywords - hypertext links serve as one form of highlighting; typeface variations and color are others
- Break documents into separate topics
- Use meaningful sub-headings (not "clever" ones) – questions often make great headings.
- Use bulleted lists
- Short sentences – 5 to 10 words
- This does not mean adhering to a defined word or character length for every piece of content.
- Try to say what you need in the shortest, clearest way possible - Half the word count (or less) than conventional writing
- One idea per paragraph - users will skip over any additional ideas if they are not caught by the first few words in the paragraph
- Craft the first sentence to capture attention
- Use the inverted pyramid style, starting with the conclusion
- Short paragraphs - 50 words or less. One sentence paragraphs are ok!
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