Writing for the Web

How Users Read on the Web:

They don’t.

—Web usability expert Jakob Nielsen

Even though the words above were written in 1997, they still hold true. Jakob Nielsen’s pioneering work in this area has been confirmed by a lot of subsequent research. The vast majority of Internet users do not read any webpage word by word. They scan it and focus on individual words, phrases, or sentences, often the words most tightly connected with their task. They are often seeing your company for the first time, and they do not know how much trust to place in your information. They are used to being assaulted with promotional messages and will tune out most of your attempts to overtly market to them. They are task-oriented and are on your site ...

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