How Users Read on the Web - HTML

According to usability guru Jakob Neilsen, users don’t read Web pages, and he provides studies to prove his point. If you think about it, you’ll probably realize that you only scan Web pages, as well. With that in mind, Neilsen and others argue that the three following statements summarize user behavior regarding written content:

  • As previously mentioned, users don’t read Web pages, but scan them to focus on the few sentences that provide the information they’re looking for.
  • Users don’t like long, scrolling pages and prefer brief, summary-like text.
  • Users don’t like marketing fluff (or, marketese, as Neilsen calls it), but actively seek out information.

Numerous studies have been released to back up Nielsen’s findings. These studies show a clear pattern: Users like brevity, don’t like marketing cliches, and appreciate it when you provide strong clues as to what kind of content to expect in any given chunk of text.


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