please read 1 in 5 words

Screens and pages tend to be scanned in a Z, starting at the top left corner of the screen.

Less than 20% of words written on web sites are read when someone ‘reads’ the page.

People/players, want to scan and don’t want to read.

  • On an average visit, users read half the information only on those pages with 111 words or less.
  • People spend some of their time understanding the page layout and navigation features, as well as looking at the images. People don’t read during every single second of a page visit.
  • On average, users will have time to read 28% of the words if they devote all of their time to reading. More realistically, users will read about 20% of the text on the average page

http://www.readwriteweb.com/archives/the_stats_are_in_youre_just_skimming_this_article.php

As a result, Web pages have to employ scannable text, using

  • highlighted keywords (hypertext links serve as one form of highlighting; typeface variations and color are others)
  • meaningful sub-headings (not “clever” ones)
  • bulleted lists
  • one idea per paragraph (users will skip over any additional ideas if they are not caught by the first few words in the paragraph)
  • the inverted pyramid style, starting with the conclusion
  • half the word count (or less) than conventional writing

http://www.useit.com/alertbox/9710a.html

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