Is your content readable?

Is your content readable?
August 21, 2017 Jordan Driver

“On the average Web page, users have time to read at most 28% of the words during an average visit; 20% is more likely.” – Jakob Nielson

It’s discouraging to hear that people are only going to read 20% of your copy. It creates some sort of a roadblock in your brain almost making you want to give up on writing because who is going to read it anyway? Well, good writers know that their audience is going to read every word, so they learn how to write for skimmers first, then readers. Here’s how.

Chunks.

Here, chunks refer to readability by breaking up your content into digestible chunks of information. This was first identified by George Miller in “The Magical Number Seven, Plus or Minus Two: Some Limits on Our Capacity for Processing Information.” In this article, George suggests that the human brain is more likely to remember information that is properly separated out for us.

Chunks (or readability) = Breaking up your content so it is easier to remember.

So when you are writing your content, break it up by using:

  • Bullet lists
  • Headers
  • Images
  • Short paragraphs
  • Videos

Recognize.

Here, recognize refers to comprehension. Now, our brains are pretty smart and when we see a word we don’t understand it breaks the word down in efforts to understand it and looks at the words surrounding it as well. However, using vocabulary that your audience doesn’t comprehend slows down their reading and can discourage the reader perhaps causing them to leave the website. We call these “stop words”.
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Don’t use stop words. These include:

  • Abbreviations
  • Industry Lingo
  • Slang
  • Or even polysemous words (words that have multiple meanings)

Design.

Here, design refers to legibility. As a writer, you may feel that you have the least control of what your writing looks like when published. But if we work with our designers to apply the universal design approach from architecture, we will know that our content will be legible for all readers.

Additionally, when you write you can help your designs by planning for:

  • Headers
  • Bullet lists
  • Images
  • Links
  • Title tags

This can help us improve the page experience and memory of the people who read your content.

I hope these three points help you when writing your content. However, we know that writing content can be tricking and time-consuming. If you want to continual add fresh and unique content to your website but can’t find the time, let’s have a chat. We can handle the writing and editing of your content while you handle the rest of your business.