Summary: Studies of how users keep reading the Web found that they don’t actually read: instead, they scan the text. A research of five different writing styles found that a sample internet site scored 58% higher in measured usability with regards to was written concisely, 47% higher once the text was scannable, and 27% higher when it was printed in an objective style rather than the promotional style used in the control condition and several current website pages. Combining these three changes into a site that is single was concise, scannable, and objective at the same time led to 124% higher measured usability.
Unfortunately, this paper is created in a print style that is writing is somewhat too academic any way you like. We know this will be bad, nevertheless the paper was written given that traditional means of reporting on a research study. We now have a short summary that is more designed for online reading.
“Really good writing – that you do not see most of that on line,” said certainly one of our test participants. And our impression that is general is most Web users would agree. Our studies suggest that current Web writing often does not support users in achieving their main goal: to find useful information as quickly as you possibly can.
We have been running Web usability studies since 1994 Nielsen 1994b, Nielsen and Sano 1994, Nielsen 1995. Our research reports have been just like almost every other Web usability work (e.g., Shum 1996, Spool et al. 1997) and have mainly looked at site architecture, navigation, search, page design, layout, graphic elements and magnificence, and icons.