[Myth] People read on the web

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Myth #1: People read on the web

People only read word-by-word on the web when they are really interested in the content. They usually skim the pages looking for highlighted keywords, meaningful headings, short paragraphs and scannable list. Since they’re in a hurry to find the very piece of information they’re looking for, they’ll skip what’s irrelevant for them.

So don’t expect people to read content that seems neither easily scannable nor relevant for them, therefore long text blocks, unnecessary instructions, promotional writing and “smalltalk” should be avoided on the web.

How little do users read?

When people read word-by-word:

  • If people find the very piece of information they are interested in, they are likely to read the related content word-by-word.
  • Research shows that if people read a piece of content for pleasure, they read more thoroughly and find reading effortless even on a computer screen.
  • Studies show that there are methodical web readers who usually don’t scan but read from top to bottom.
  • Well structured pages that are designed for cursory reading are more likely to be read.

Source: uxmyths

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