This week I found another outstanding resource on writing for the Web. It’s a new report from website usability expert Jakob Nielsen, “Website Reading: It (Sometimes) Does Happen.”
Using eye-tracking studies of hundreds of users interacting with websites, the report describes exactly how users read Web content.
Just writing your message on your website is not enough. In order to effectively inform and/or persuade your users, it is essential to understand how people consume text on websites. This is because of two contradictory truths:
The report details how effective page layout and good information architecture can guide users to your content. Once the user is there, though, the content must deliver. Using before-and-after case studies and examples from popular websites (such as The New York Times and Wikipedia), the report offers 83 guidelines for Web content.
Here are a few: