Best Practices: Make it scannable
Make it Scannable
Use small chunks of content
- Chunk = manageable bit
- Don't write prose.
- Keep sentences to one or two points.
- Keep paragraphs short. A one sentence paragraph is OK.
- Use lists.
- Use fragments and phrases.
- Use pictures and other visual elements.
Example: Read Nielsen's How Users Read on the Web and scroll down to "Measuring the Effect of Improved Web Writing."
Take a look at an article on CNN. Where do your eyes go? What has CNN done to improve the reading experience?
Include only what users want and need.
- Cut! Cut! Cut! Find the essence.
- Put it away for a day or two.
- Look it over and cut again.
- With each sentence, ask: Do users want or need that?
- Then ask: Do they really want or need that?
- Morkes and Nielsen cut the words by 54% and people thought the site's treatment of topics was more complete. Read more: Applying Writing Guidelines to Web Pages
People like patterns
- We grasp the information more quickly if we can anticipate the pattern.
- We try to see patterns in information even when there are none.
- When we have to switch patterns, we use extra mental energy.
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