It shouldn’t come as a surprise that the majority of website users don’t actually read your entire website. In fact, according to some of the most recent research, as much as 79 percent of Internet users only scan a page while only 16 percent actually read throughout your website. If you’re looking for ways to enhance your user engagement, you must start with the structure and layout of your scannable content. While you may have life-changing information within your pages, if its design isn’t cohesive toward modern-day users then this information will likely go unread.
Throughout this article, we’re going to delve into the various elements and theories regarding how users read websites. With this information you can then adjust the layout and structure of your website content to better cater to the modern attention span of website visitors.
The Basic Elements of Scannable Content
There are hundreds, if not thousands, of pages dedicated to the creation of scannable content. While many of these offer unique insights, there are several universal elements that all successful designs follow. These include:
1.) Keywords – More than likely, a visitor came to your site because they inputted specific keywords or keyphrases into a search engine and were eventually directed to your site. Therefore, you should highlight specific keywords that are attractive/desirable to your target demographic. This can be in the form of hyperlinked text or “buttons” that utilize a keyword.
2.) Sub-Headings – The sub-headings found throughout your content should be meaningful. While certain websites can get away with clever sub-headings filled with humor, the majority of websites should avoid this practice. Use humor in other ways; don’t waste this important content real estate to showcase your witty sense of humor.
3.) Bullet Lists – It should come to no surprise that the use of bullet lists is significant when it comes to increasing your overall readability and scannability of your website. Bullet lists allow you to convey essential pieces of information within a single sentence. The ease of gathering this information satisfies the short attention span of the average Internet user.
4.) Hyper-Specific Paragraph Design – As a general rule of thumb, you should keep to one single idea within a single paragraph. The majority of users will skip over a paragraph if it includes multiple ideas or disjointed pieces of information. Keep paragraphs between two and five sentences (the shorter the better).
5.) Inverted Pyramid Content – The most effective websites are those that begin an article, or page, with the conclusion/answer to the visitors question. From there, you can work your way into describing how they can achieve this conclusion or answer to their problem.