How little do web users read? Even less than you think

Before you struggle too hard and long over that golden prose you’ve drafted for your web site, consider this statistic, as cited on Jakob Nielsen’s site last week:

On average, users [in the study discussed] will have time to read 28% of the words if they devote all of their time to reading. More realistically, users will read about 20% of the text on the average page.

The takeaway: Write as though your reader has one foot out the door and the other on a banana peel. Get to the point and then move on!

Published by Jeff Larche

With a background that includes direct marketing and customer relationship management (CRM), Jeff Larche brings an unusual approach to his work. What these other two disciplines have in common is database marketing, and they continue to strongly influence his work as marketing technology leader.

One reply on “How little do web users read? Even less than you think”

  1. Assuming that statistic is correct, it does recall the Wanamaker dilemma. In other words (no pun intended), you don’t know WHICH 28% of the words on the page the page visitor is going to read. In fact, it’s likely that no two visitors will read the same 28%.

    Conclusion: You still have to craft (not just write) all the words that are appropriate — even if no one reads all of them.

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