Nobody Reads Online: Designing Content for Non-Readers

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Most people don’t read—really read—when it comes to the web. That shouldn’t surprise, but what might is just how few. According to one study, only 16% of users will read your content word by word. This means that a lot of vital information about your product or service could be missed.

How much information is being lost by all your non-readers? A lot. Only 1 in 15 users will find key information if it is buried in long blocks of text.

So, how do you get your message across?

You design your content for scanability.

The good news is that 75% of users will scan content—jumping from one section the next without reading more than a few words at a time. This makes it vital to place important information at a high level and directly in the line of sight rather than burying it in long paragraphs (aka “the dreaded wall of text”).

One of the simplest solutions is to visually break up your content.

Some Tips:

  • Highlight key terms
  • Enlist bulleted lists
  • Include callouts
  • Use meaningful subheadings
  • Only present one idea per paragraph
  • Stay concise

When it comes to optimizing your content for scanability, finding the right balance can be hard. It requires careful organization, deep understanding of your audience and, of course, a website design  that is conducive to their needs.

Oneupweb can help.

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Taylor Holloran, Account Manager I joined Oneupweb after spending five years as an editor and project manager for an electronic publishing company in Traverse City. Before moving to northern Michigan, I worked on the ground for several international aid organizations, supporting development and conservation projects in Argentina, the Philippines and Cambodia. My experience working with...

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