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scan reading

Scan reading involves skimming across navigation and content, picking out headings, summaries, the first sentences of paragraphs, and so on. Studies from the Stanford Poynter Institute and Useit.com have found that scan reading is emerging as the dominant form of reading on the Web.

To meet the needs of scan readers, navigation needs to be clear and consistent; content needs to make effective use of headings, subheadings, pull quotes, and short, snappy summaries; paragraphs and documents need to be short; and hypertext should be used appropriately.

Scan readers (and therefore Web readers) dislike poorly designed navigation, badly laid-out content, vague headings and summaries (or none at all), slow-downloading ...

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