A short guide to understand the reading of and write for the internet By Catherine Gibbons How to Read the Web
How do readers read the Web? 79 % of viewers scan the page looking for key words when reading a web page 16% of viewers read the web page, word for word. What does this mean? If the average web page has 593 words, the average reader only reads about 111 words or about 28% of the text
How do readers read the web? People don’t read the web page they scan for the key ideas They are looking for individual words and sentences Therefore key ideas and information need to be in the two top paragraphs of the web pages.
The reading pattern Readers tend to read in a “ Fast” pattern, The F pattern can be seen as a serious of patterns Horizontal Movements- across the upper part of the page of the text Second Horizontal Movement- move down the page a bit and then read across Vertical horizontal Movement- scanning the content left of the page systematically.
The F pattern. What does this imply: That the reader wont read the text thoroughly That the first two paragraphs must then state the key arguments Start subheading , paragraphs and bullet points with information words Ex: Lady Gaga makes her catwalk debut , Global food prices hit new record (good) VS. Vancouver Island night club penalized for “unlawful” stripper behavior , Charlie Sheen’s goddess focus on custody battle (bad)
How to write for the web When writing for this audience, one wants to stay away from long sentences and generic writing. one does not need that welcome to the page sentence. what do you do: 1) High light key words 2) These words need to be meaningful , with accurate subheadings 3) Lists 4) One idea/ concept per paragraph 5)Start with the conclusion at the beginning of the writing 6) Half the word count
How to write for the web?? One of the best websites that employs the tactics for internet writing is the BBC. The BBC titles are usually between 5 words in length and 34 characters long Why The wording is short and to the point Its rich in information The most important keywords are visible Itis understandable when out of context Predictable- do I want to read on, http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/ http://www.vancouversun.com/
What about credibility????? It is important to note although the reader is reading online, they still want their sources to be creditable Graphs , good writing and links to other outbound hypertext links help to establish the pages credibility
The Research Study: 25 web users were monitored in this study, these users were completely naturalistic, meaning that the users did not have to change their behavior These users were above average intelligence and might slightly impact the outcome What was the outcome ? -the Back Button is now only the 3rd most-used feature -the clicking of the hyper text is the most used feature - the clicking of buttons was overtaken by the “Back” button
The facts of the real life reading 10,163 page views (17%) that lasted less than 4 seconds. In such brief "visits," users clearly bounced right out without truly "using" the page. 2,615 page views (4%) that lasted more than 10 minutes. In these cases, users almost certainly left the browser open while doing something else. 1,558 page views (3%) with fewer than 20 words on them. Such pages are probably server errors or disrupted downloads. Conclusion: An average web page has between 30-1250 words and for every extra 100 words a page has it takes 4.4 seconds to read.
Does ones literary level affect the reading of the web? Answer is yes. People are divided into two groups:
The reader: One has to keep in mind, when writing for the web, to write in a simplistic manner and around a 6 grade reading level. Remember: Prioritize information Avoid text that moves or changes Streamline the page design Simplify navigation Optimize search
Discussion Questions Can you think of an example of a web site that you feel is easy for readers to read? Do you feel that as our society becomes more dependent on the web, that traditional books will become obsolete? Is the I-pad and Kobo affecting this shift?
Work Cited: BBC Canada http://www.bbccanada.com/ Retrieved on March 1st, 2011 Writing for the web http://www.useit.com/papers/webwriting/ Retrieved on March 1st 2011