Reality Check for Us Word Lovers Out There

Let me give it to you straight: On the average web page, users have time to read at most 28 percent of the words during an average visit; 20 percent is more likely. Such is the latest reality check from Jakob Nielsen‘s Alertbox.

Wow.

A firm believer that content is king, I spend a lot more time focused on the words and the message in everything that I do than on the visuals. I know the value of “less is more” and try to write short and concise messages. And, now I need to cope with the fact that less than one quarter of that great, tight writing is getting read on line.

Thanks for the straight talk, Jakob. Now the tough part is listening…

Let’s save ourselves from the effort it will take to justify that our readers are different and that the read every word. They are not. Let’s remember to keep text short and focused, and to be sure that our web page visitors get plenty of cues that take them directly to their goal. Let’s help them to scan and succeed, instead of adding our site to the pile of those that are not often visited or used.