Summary: Studies of how users continue reading the Web found that they just do not actually read: instead, they scan the text. A study of five writing that is different unearthed that a sample internet site scored 58% higher in measured usability with regards to was written concisely, 47% higher when the text was scannable, and 27% higher with regards to was printed in an objective style instead of the promotional style utilized in the control condition and several current website pages. Combining these three changes into a single site that was concise, scannable, and objective in addition lead to 124% higher measured usability.
Unfortunately, this paper is created in a print writing style and is somewhat too academic in style. We know this is certainly bad, but the paper was written since the way that is traditional of on a research study. We now have a summary that is short is more fitted to online reading.
“Really good writing – you don’t see most of that on the Web,” said one of our test participants. And our general impression is that most Web users would agree. Our studies suggest that current Web writing often does not support users in achieving their definitive goal: to locate information that is useful quickly as you are able to.
We’ve been running Web usability studies since 1994 Nielsen 1994b, Nielsen and Sano 1994, Nielsen 1995. Our studies have been just like almost every other Web usability work (e.g., Shum 1996, Spool et al. 1997) and possess mainly looked at site architecture, navigation, search, page design, layout, graphic elements and style, and icons. Even so, we have collected many user comments concerning the content in this long group of studies. Indeed, we have started to recognize that content is king within the user’s mind: When asked for feedback on a Web page, users will touch upon the high quality and relevance of this content to a much greater extent than they are going to touch upon navigational issues or perhaps the page elements that we consider to be “user interface” (instead of simple information). Similarly, when a page comes up, users focus their attention regarding the center of the window where they see the body text before they bother looking over headerbars or other elements that are navigational.
We now have derived three main conclusions that are content-oriented our four years’ of Web usability studies Nielsen 1997a:
- users usually do not continue reading the Web; instead they scan the pages, attempting to pick out a few sentences or even areas of sentences to obtain the information they want
- users don’t like long, scrolling pages: they choose the text to be short and to the point
- users detest anything that appears like marketing fluff or overly hyped language (“marketese”) and prefer factual information.
This latter point is well illustrated because of the following quote from a person survey we ran from the Sun website:
“One word of advice, folks: let us try not to be so gratuitous and self-inflating. Beginning answers to sense that is common such as “Will Sun support my older Solaris platform?” with answers such as “Sun is exceptionally focused on. ” and “Solaris is a leading operating system in today’s world of business. ” does not give me, as an engineer, a lot of confidence in your ability. I want to hear fact, not platitudes and self-serving ideology. Hell, you will want to just paint your house page red under the moving banner of, “Computers around the globe, Unite underneath the Sun motherland that is glorious!”
Even though we now have gained some comprehension of site content from studies that mainly concerned higher-level web site design issues, we felt that people needed seriously to know more about Web writing to be able to advise our content creators. We therefore designed a number of studies that specifically looked over how users read Web pages.
Summary of Studies
We conducted three studies for which a total of 81 users read Web pages. The initial two studies were qualitative and exploratory and were directed at generating insight into how users read and whatever they like and dislike. The third study was a measurement study aimed at quantifying the potential advantages of a few of the most promising writing styles identified in the 1st two studies. All three studies were conducted during the summer of 1997 into the SunSoft usability laboratories in Menlo Park, CA.
A goal that is major the very first study was to compare the reading behavior of technical and non-technical users. And even though we had conducted some earlier studies with non-technical participants, the majority of our studies had used highly technical users. Also, given the nature of your site, the majority of the data collected from site surveys was supplied by technical users.
In Study 1, we tested a complete of 11 users: 6 end-users and 5 users that are technical. The main disimilarity between technical and non-technical users appeared to play call at participants’ familiarity and expertise with search tools and hypertext. The users that are technical better informed about how exactly to perform searches compared to end-users were. Technical users also seemed more aware of and more enthusiastic about following hypertext links. A minumum of one end-user said he is sometimes hesitant to use hypertext for concern with getting lost.
Apart from those differences, there looked like no major differences in how technical and non-technical users approached reading on the net. Both groups desired scannable text, short text, summaries, etc.
The tasks were classic directed tasks comparable to those found in the majority of our previous Web usability studies. Users were typically taken up to your home page of a specific website and then asked to find specific info on your website. This process was taken up to avoid the well-known problems when users need certainly to find things by searching the entire Web Web that is entire and Hockley 1997Pollock. Here is a sample task:
|you’ve planned a visit to Las Vegas and want to find out about a restaurant that is local by chef Charlie Trotter. You heard it absolutely was found in the MGM Grand hotel and casino, however you want more information about the restaurant. You start by looking at the website for Restaurants & Institutions magazine at: http://www.rimag.com
Hint: Look for stories on casino foodservice
Try to find out:
Unfortunately, the Web happens to be so difficult to use that users wasted enormous amounts of time searching for the page that is specific contained the answer to the question. Even when regarding the intended page, users often could not get the answer because they did not see the line that is relevant. As a result, much of Study 1 ended up repeating navigation issues we got fewer results than desired relating to actual reading of content that we knew from previous studies and.
Users Want to Search
Upon visiting each site, the majority of of the participants wanted to begin with a keyword search. “a search that is good is key for a great website,” one participant said. If the search engines had not been available, a few of the participants said, they might try utilising the browser’s “Find” command.
Sometimes participants must be buy essay asked to attempt to find the information without using a search tool, because searching was not a main focus with this study.