Thursday, August 7, 2008

Online Writing - Scan-Ability Is Readability Online

Users scan more than read online, and they scan in an F-shaped pattern. This is a heat map of where readers' eyes look while reading online (red areas are most viewed areas, yellow next most, blue least most viewed; click image to enlarge):

heatmap image
(from Jakob Nielsen's excellent article on Banner Blindness).

Readers scan the first sentences of paragraphs to decide whether to read the rest of the paragraph or not. The first sentence should describe the paragraph, giving readers clues as to whether the rest of the paragraph will interest them. The first two words of each paragraph should be the most information-carrying words.

Even deeply interested and engaged visitors often do not read all of an article's text as the first 30 seconds of this video show:

This is part 1 of Top 6 Online Writing Tips
Read parts 1 2 3 4 5 6

1 comment:

Kate (@beeingmissstar) said...

Wow, that's so interesting! And definitely true, I know I'm guilty of it. We're just so over-saturated with information, there's no time to read it all!