Monday, May 12, 2008

Reading (online) is for Neanderthals

Words - the stuff with which dreams are written.

One of the core elements of modern society is our ability to say and write down our feelings, opinions and gripes. To create meaning where none exists, or shine a light on that which does.

Those who are good at crafting words even get paid, by the word - although it costs none of us to use the self-same words whenever we wish.

Words are also the bane of modern existence - too many words, thrown at us from all quarters, overwhelming us with details.

Few of us have time to listen and read all the words presented to us each day. Many of us deliberately go out of our way to avoid words, seeking synopses, précis, executive summaries, briefs, briefings and elevator pitches.

Having satisfied my own word bug, let's get to the point.

Government websites are full of unnecessary words, frequently using jargon, bureaucratic terms and marketing speak.

If we want our audiences to absorb what we say, we need to use fewer, shorter and common use words.

This was reinforced by a recent Alertbox (from usability guru Jakob Neilsen).

Here's the summary and link - I'll leave it up to you whether you want to encounter more of Jakob's own words.
On the average Web page, users have time to read
at most 28% of the words during an average visit; 20% is more likely.

Full article: How Little Do Users Read?

No comments:

Post a Comment

Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.

Bookmark and Share