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HomeGuidelines  > 2. Make text scannable.                  

 

To make text scannable:

2a. Create a meaningful
      title.

2b. Insert meaningful
      headlines and
      subheads.

2c. Highlight keywords and
      phrases--and links.

2d. Turn any list into a
       bulleted or numbered
       list.

2. Make text scannable.

Now hear this!

Get out your bullhorn.

Make your main points loud and clear, in your

  • Title for the page
  • Headlines
  • Boldfaced terms
  • Lists

Why be scannable?

No one wants to read much onscreen.

On the Web, people use little pieces of text--microcontent-- to decide whether to read the whole page. They look at major signposts, such as titles, headlines, boldfaced terms, to see if the content is, more or less, what they want.

They scan your page to avoid reading.  Or at least to postpone reading.

Making your text easy to scan invites people in, gives them an overview of the content, orients them. 

And if they do decide to settle in and read, the signposts have given them a mental model of the content.

 

Resources

Taking a Position on Scannability

Heuristic Online Text (HOT) Evaluation for Scannability

Poster

Making text scannable (Hot Text module, PDF, 652K, or about 12 minutes at 56K)

 

 

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