They don’t; so make web pages scannable
Here’s the title of one of usability expert Jakob Nielsen’s earliest articles on writing for the web.
The first paragraph:
“People read paper,” says TJ Larkin, principal of Larkin Communications Consulting. “They use the web.”
In fact, just 16% of people read word-by-word online, according to eye tracking studies by Dejan Marketing. Remarkably, that’s the same percentage Nielsen came up with in his 1997 study.
So if they’re not reading, what are they doing?
They’re not reading; they’re seeking.
Web users spend most of their time looking for something specific.
According to research findings by Xerox PARC, web visitors:
- Collect 71% of the time. They search for multiple pieces of important information, maybe research for a Writing for Mobile workshop.
- Find 25%. They seek something specific, like “What is this bacalhau they want to serve me for lunch?”
- Explore 2%. They look around without a specific goal — aka “surfing.”
- Monitor 2%. They return to the same website to update information — say, checking CNN for the latest news.
How can you reach readers where their eyes are?
Web visitors spend 57% above the fold, or on the first screen of a web page, according to the Nielsen Norman Group. They spend 74% on the first two screens.
Find out how to reach visitors where their eyes are at Reach Readers Online — our web-writing workshop starting June 20.
There, you’ll learn how to stop dropping the best-read element on your web page … how to avoid getting your headline cut off on smartphones … how to get found with Ann’s simple tricks and tools for SEO … and how to overcome the obstacles to reading on the screen to get the word out on mobile devices.
Save up to $100 with our group discounts.