Dr. Jakob Nielsen, who has been called “one of the world’s foremost experts in Web usability” by Business Week magazine, says that people rarely read Web pages word by word; instead, they scan a page and pick out individual words and sentences.
To make Web pages more readable through scannable text, Dr. Nielsen recommends writers use:
- highlighted keywords (hypertext links serve as one form of highlighting; typeface variations and color are others)
- meaningful sub-headings (not “clever” ones)
- bulleted lists
- one idea per paragraph (users will skip over any additional ideas if they are not caught by the first few words in the paragraph)
- the inverted pyramid style, starting with the conclusion
- half the word count (or less) than conventional writing
Don Beehler provides public relations consulting services to small- and medium-sized advertising agencies and businesses.