Reading from the web is different than reading hard materials. Heat maps used in eye tracking studies reveal people typically read web pages in an uppercase F-shaped patters: two horizontal stripes followed by a vertical stripe.
Since web pages are read differently, they must be written differently to optimize their use.
According to usability expert Jacob Nielsen, it’s important to remember a 3-S approach to web writing:
- Succinct – write no more than 50% of what you would write for hardcopy.
- Scannable – key information should be visible in the first two paragraphs.
- Short – people hate scrolling; use links to split information over multiple pages.
Crafting compelling prose that convey key messages can favorably influence visitors, affecting your bottom line.