October 1, 1997
Users don't read Web pages, they scan. Highlighting and concise writing improved measured usability 47-58%. Marketese imposed a cognitive burden on users and was disliked.
January 1, 1997
Studies of how users read on the Web found that they do not actually read: instead, they scan the text. A study of five different writing styles found that a sample Web site scored 58% higher in measured usability when it was written concisely, 47% higher when the text was scannable, and 27% higher when it was written in an objective style instead of the promotional style used in the control condition and many current Web pages. Combining these three changes into a single site that was concise, scannable, and objective at the same time resulted in 124% higher measured usability.
March 15, 1997
Reading from screens is 25% slower than from paper and we know that Web users skim rather than read. Web text should be short, emphasize scannability, and be structured into multiple hyperlinked pages (each focused on a subtopic).
April 6, 2009
Testing how well people understand a link's first 11 characters shows whether sites write for users, who typically scan rather than read lists of items.
November 12, 2007
Information foraging shows how to calculate your content strategy's costs and benefits. A mixed diet that combines brief overviews and comprehensive coverage is often best.
May 6, 2008
On the average Web page, users have time to read at most 28% of the words during an average visit; 20% is more likely.
June 24, 2013
When web content helps users focus on sections of interest, users switch from scanning to actually reading the copy.
January 6, 1998
Rewriting pages from a popular website improved measured usability by 159%. Word count was cut to 54%; long pages were split into hypertext; Web writing guidelines were applied.
September 6, 1998
Online headlines must be absolutely clear when taken out of context. They should be written in plain language (no puns or clever headlines). 5 additional guidelines + examples of bad microcontent.
February 28, 2011
Cloze Tests provide empirical evidence of how easy a text is to read and understand for a specified target audience. They thus measure reading comprehension, and not just a readability score.