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Ayo's Website Design

(Located in Redmond, Washington)

Sunday, January 13, 2008

Web writing tips: Large blocks of text are tiring to read...

Summary: On a landing page, such as your homepage, effective website text must be scannable to be effective.

In my class, "Psychology of an Internet Customer," I ask attendees the question, "What is wrong with website text that is not scannable?" (For those who have not attended the class, when we refer to scannable text, we're talking about text that is designed to be scanned as opposed to read.)

At my January 9th class, the answer I received to that question was, "The website user can become mentally fatigued or overwhelmed by the text." This is absolutely true.

I personally can attest to the fact that large blocks of text are fatiguing to read. The student added, 'When I see a large block of text on a website, I roll my eyes.'

Will users take the time to read large blocks of undifferentiated text? Again, many attendees correctly answer from their personal web browsing tastes, "No!"

Does that mean you should never write paragraphs on your website? Of course not. Otherwise, I'd be breaking that principle with this article.

What it means is that on a landing page, such as your home page, you should avoid large blocks of text and instead always make it scannable. How can you do this?

Below are some techniques:
  1. Use bullets or numbered lists like this one.
  2. Use bold text to draw the eye.
  3. Cut out any marketing fluff and use true, objective statements.
These three techniques may seem simple, but the research presented in "Psychology of an Internet Customer" shows they are proven to work.

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