In the short, the spice

Texts on the web must be one thing above all: crisp

Do you like to read online articles? We too! But, do you always read them to the end? If you answer no to this question, you will be a majority of users. The main reason: you read differently on the net. In today’s blog post you will learn more about the differences between online and printed texts and what to look for when creating text for the net.

“You will not read this article to the end,” Farhad Manjoo, author of The American magazine Slate, wrote provocatively in the headline to his much-publicized 2013 online article. His statement has not lost its relevance, quite the contrary.

At the time, he had analyzed that an average online article of his magazine was opened by 161 users, but up to half of the text came only 50. Only 25 made it to the 80 percent mark – less than 16 percent of the originally interested users.

Don’t have to think

The user on the net wants to have little to think about. He expects to be able to intuitively operate a website and capture the content immediately.

This is partly because you read online up to 25 percent slower, because many screens display texts slightly blurred. That tightens the eyes. Another reason users simply want it is the sheer amount of information they face online.

The link structure of websites also influences the reading behavior: While the user is still seeing an article, a related topic link tries to tempt him to click on.

So it’s no surprise that most readers decide in the first three seconds whether they want to deal intensively with an article or move on quickly. Therefore, an author usually only has a few lines to win over the reader.


Web-appropriate texting

So what to do to convince readers? Easily with quality texts that are short, relevant, entertaining and understandable.

Jakob Nielsen, who studies the reading behavior of users on the net, found in eye-tracking studies: When reading, users take an F-pattern with their eyes. The elements on the left receive more attention than those on the right.

In addition, the addressee only turns his attention to the upper horizontal crossbar of the “F”. Afterwards, his gaze glides over the second horizontal crossbar directly below. He then takes a look at the vertical bar of an “F”.

However, this does not apply if someone searches for prices or figures. In this case, the eyes frantify the screen to get the desired information.

There is no second chance for the first impression

Almost every user flies over a page before considering reading it word for word. The first impression is also decisive in this case. Keywords, good readership, clear structures, an appealing design and links are a must.

Generally speaking, text ingessing is short and concise. According to the dpa press agency, the optimal sentence length is nine words. At least as far as comprehensibility is concerned.

Even the right choice of words can lead to reading: bulky words as well as nested sentences strictly affect the reader. If he doesn’t understand a sentence the first time he reads it, he will click on it.

The texts must be free of content, grammatical and orthographic errors. If they are not, the site quickly seems frivolous and sloppy.