What does is mean for a website to be scannable?
When designing a website, there are a thousand different things to consider. The layout, the content, the landing page, there are so many things to work on that you might never consider whether visitors to your site are even going to read what you’ve put on, but it is vital that you make sure your content can be absorbed very fast.
With so much content and so much competition on the internet, users want results and they want them fast. They’re visiting your website for information, and if they don’t get what they want very quickly, they’ll click back and keep looking. A scannable website is one that readers can scan over quickly and get the vital information they need fast. Is your website scannable?
How can I make sure people read my content?
Bear in mind that when we say visitors want information fast, we mean within the first line of a website. Studies have shown that website visitors will read, on average, 28% of a webpage before moving on. Only a few customers will stick around to read the rest. This sounds scary at first, but researchers have also managed to discover what parts of the webpage people are most likely to read.
“The F-Shape” is the method the majority of users will read a page with. They will scan the top left of the page, then check the top of the website. They’ll move down to read the first one or two lines of content the whole way along the page, then scan the first word or two of the sentences down the paragraph. It’s vital that the information that the customer is seeking is put in these small parts.
The top of the page usually has the site links and logo. The first major piece of content most people will see is the headline below. This is why it is vital this is catchy and relevant to try and draw viewers in. However, it is also important to use something that breaks from the usual pattern. Throw in some pictures or awkward shapes below the main content to ensure the reader doesn’t dull out what they’re reading.
Make sure the first two paragraphs have the key information and overall message. They’re the two people are most likely to read, so they need to be practically able to sum up the rest of the article. Start each paragraph and subheading with the most important information that you can to catch the eye of anyone scanning the page.
The F-Shape has become a norm in web design nowadays, so the key is to use it in your own unique way. You know HOW your reader is going to scan your website. What you put in those sections is what will convince viewers to stay, and it’s the key to your success. Innovation and skilled web design is needed to make the most of The F-Shape.
What will make my website more readable?
If you’re able to attract a visitor long enough for them to start reading more of your content, there are lots of tricks and tips that you can use to ensure that they’re interested in you. Use short paragraphs as they’re a lot easier to scan over, and try to make sure each paragraph has a topic that it focuses on. Use related subheadings to break up the page and describe each section of the content.
Lists and bullet points are very eye-catching, but be careful not to overuse them. Make sure you actually have a reason to use bullet points, don’t just point one at the start of every paragraph. Format your links so they fit into the content smoothly and offer extra information to interested parties. Images are useful for breaking up text, but they can sometimes make scanning the page more difficult, so make sure they’re clear and relevant.
How you write your content is also very important. Most readers can’t start jargon or sales language, so never make it seem like you’re trying to sell them something. Highlighting your keywords can help attract attention, and some of your content will benefit from the “Pyramid Style” where you start with your conclusion and use the rest to explain how you reached it.
Remember that writing content for the internet is different from any other style of writing. People read on the internet differently than they read physical media, and learning the methods and patterns is vital. You need to get your key information out fast, or risk that visitor moving on before they’ve absorbed a single piece of info about your website.