People Don’t Read Digital Content, They Skim

It’s okay if you don’t read this entire blog post. I don’t expect you to, and I’ll make you a deal. If you don’t get the main idea without reading the whole thing, I’ll give you a full refund.

Now let’s get started.

ADD behavior
Most website visitors only read about 50 percent of a web page’s content, according to a study by Chartbeat. If they aren’t reading the thoughtfully created, painstakingly curated content, then what the heck are they doing?

Looking at pictures, video, and other flashy objects, of course. (If you read this sentence before looking at any graphics on this page, congratulations, you’re a unicorn and probably have x-ray vision.) They’re also being interrupted or just getting bored.

Creating a comfortable skim-read experience
Don’t make your reader work so hard. In his book Don’t Make Me Think, Steve Krug distills common sense to synthesizing web usability down to one basic idea: Make digital content easy and intuitive to navigate. Here are some ways you can smooth out your content into bite-size readerlicious nuggets:

  • Break up your content into bullets (See what I did here.)
  1. Use
  2. Numbered
  3. Lists … Lists are especially helpful for explaining how to do something in a step-by-step format
  • Include subheads. Break up the topic into subheads, so readers can quickly jump from one idea to the next and still comprehend your content.
  • Add clickable buttons. You see a button; you want to push it. It’s a primal instinct. I’m pretty sure this is depicted in primitive cave drawings. Okay, not really, but you can use this to your advantage. Here’s an example for Instagram.

insta_blog

  • Employ the inverted pyramid. I’m gonna let you in on a little secret known mostly among journalists. The inverted pyramid is designed so readers can glean the most important details by reading what comes first in the article. Here’s a picture to explain.

inverted_pyramid

Edit your web content ferociously. Get it down to the straightforward essentials, and readers will reward you with their attention.