Web sites are made for surfers who read, scan and want to know more about a particular topic or subject that they are looking for. Articles written for websites serve this particular purpose. But, believe it or not, surfers who search the web for relevant articles do so not by actually reading each and every article they encounter, they simply skim and scan over it.
It is discovered that only sixteen percent of users tested who regularly surf the web for information actually read every word of an article. A whooping seventy-nine percent just scan it. All they do is choose among the many words in front of them and pick out the relevant words, phrases or sentences.
But, there is an exception though. In the same test, it was also discovered that articles that enjoyed a more than one hundred percent usability rating were articles that were concisely written, well-researched and objectively presented.
For articles that were average in content and form, this is where text scanning is definitely usable. Articles such as these would be easier to scan via keywords that are highlighted or in a different color or typeface.
What would it take then for an article to be easily readable enough at the same time be considered important? The following are basic tips to apply to a written article and to make it appear clear and comprehensible.
Make sure to use sub-headings that are meaningful. Take note that these sub-headings need to be more contextual than cute or clever. Though making it cute is nice, a sub-heading that is more applicable and apt for the article’s topic is a more superior and enjoyable read than one who is striving only for cuteness.
Bullets that are made out into a list are an easier read than a lengthy list of paragraphs. It makes the article readable as it is straight to the point. Bullets should be short and snappy and must deliver the real deal. Not winding statements that really do not go anywhere.
A paragraph per idea
Users of the web are a very harsh bunch. They want a good read, a good article, and they want one fast and they want one good. So a paragraph that contains more than one idea will more likely cause their eyes to glaze over and intentionally skip these ideas especially if they find the first few words, phrases and sentence in the paragraph as not worthy of their attention.
Being credible is incredible
Credibility is the key ingredient for making an article stand out among the hundreds and thousands that proliferate over the internet. Since the web is a free for all medium, the source of information for a specific article maybe unclear at times making it sometimes a bit difficult to trust.
However, there are ways to increase the credibility of a given article. One of the many ways is through graphics that are of good quality. Another way is through the creation of outbound links in hypertext. Through this method, a user is able to connect to a link of another similarly related article thereby giving to users the impression that the article’s author did good homework is not clearly afraid to show other users similarly themed sites.
Boast it not
Writing that promotes and exaggerates a certain product, information or subject and putting out claims that such a product is, “the best thing ever” is very prevalent on the internet.
However, such articles do very little in the user’s perception as they process that this detail is a mere overstatement if not embellishment.
The best way to do it
According to a test conducted in measuring the usability of articles submitted to sites, it has been discovered that articles which were written in a succinct manner, had features and key words that are easily scannable as well as a style that is objective enjoyed a whooping one hundred and twenty-four percent user rating compared to articles that were promotional in style (those who exaggerate). This type of articles have a usability rating of zero percent. Meanwhile, articles that were just concise had a fifty-eight percent of user rating. Articles that were strictly objective had a twenty-seven percent of user rating.
In summary, the more credibly valid an article is the greater and higher the probability that users will be more attracted to it, as well as the site that carries it.