Web writers, how do you keep a viewer scanning your Web page? Formulate straightforward, concise, and organized content. Viewers don’t want to read a book; they want quick information at their finger tips without having to browse too much. Thus, they scan the Web, but don’t read text word for word.
An eye-tracking study reveals that viewers typically scan Web pages in an F-shaped pattern. This means that the majority of people scan the left side and the beginning of the page. Appeal visually to the reader by utilizing the following tools:
- Relevant headings
- Short paragraphs
- Bulleted lists
- Related graphics
- Informative natural links
Limiting paragraphs to one subject per paragraph enables you to label the paragraph with a relevant heading. This assists the user in quickly evaluating whether the subject applies to the topic they want to know more about.
Merely breaking up large amounts of content into paragraphs is not enough. Stick to short paragraphs with concise writing that forms a connection with the viewer. Rather than using a literary style of writing, use everyday language that is easy to understand, yet generates interest to read further.
Bulleted lists are an effective format to display a series of items because an individual scanning the document can visually digest the content at a glance. Phrases and sentences are most commonly bulleted. If order is important, numbering the list is preferable.
Incorporating a small to medium sized graphic image into your document is good as long as it relates to the topic. Add a caption underneath the graphic to create a relationship between the image and the text. An image grabs the viewer’s attention and increases the probability that they will continue reading. It can also lend credibility to the subject matter.
Informative Natural Links
Hyper links are an indicator to viewers whether the content is credible. Links allow the viewer to dig deeper into the topic if desired. Link to Web pages that are reliable and contain accurate information. Fast response time for hyper links is important to retain the user’s attention. Linking to Web pages within a website aids in keeping a user on the site longer.