Skimmable content boosts understanding, memory, satisfaction
When usability guru Jakob Nielsen wanted to measure the effects of scannable web copy, he studied a webpage about Nebraska.
One of the original passages said:
Not very skimmable.
So Nielsen rewrote the webpage, adding subheads, bold-faced text and bullets, among other scannable elements:
Then Nielsen tested both pages for metrics including:
- Task time: How long it took users to find answers to questions like “On what date did Nebraska become a state?”
- Errors, or the number of questions they answered wrong about Nebraska after reading the piece
- Memory — How much they remembered two days later
- Subjective satisfaction, or how participants felt about the reading the information and interacting with the site
The result: The skimmable rewrite was 47% more usable — nearly half again faster, more understandable, more memorable and more pleasant. Not a bad ROI on some bullets and bold face!
How skimmable are your messages?
How can you make them easier to skim?