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Make Your Web Pages Easier to Read

By Mario Sanchez
Posted Wednesday, June 23, 2004

Computer screens are hard on the eyes, and their limited size forces users to scroll. This makes reading online harder, slower and more uncomfortable than reading on print. Following are a few simple tips that you can follow to make the experience of reading online easier to your visitors:

1. Write less: Try to use at least 50% of the words you would use in print. Once you finish writing, go back and try to further reduce your word count.

2. Use headlines to break the discussion into several paragraphs. Breaking the discussion into small, manageable chunks, each dealing with a sub-topic of your discussion, makes things much easier for readers.

3. Online users don't read, they scan. Use elements that facilitate scannability: bolding key words and phrases, and using bullet points are two examples of this technique.

4. Try to convey one idea per paragraph, instead of bundling them in long, cumbersome paragraphs.

5. Use hyperlinks to present complementary information instead of trying to include everything in the body of your article. For example, if you are writing a piece about “search engine submission techniques", you may touch the subject of “keyword optimization" at one given point. If you want to explain what “keyword optimization" means, hyperlink the words to another page where readers can find more about that subject.

6. Try to limit your discussion to one short page, instead of breaking your article into several pages. Most people won't read through a long article broken into two, three or more pages.

7. Try not to use small fixed font sizes. Specify your font size in percentage terms and let users choose their default settings. If you absolutely want to use fixed font sizes because they better preserve the intended layout of your pages, use font sizes of 10pt. or higher.

8. Use font types that are specifically designed for reading on the web, like Verdana or Georgia.

About the Author
Mario Sanchez publishes The Internet Digest (, an online collection of web design and Internet marketing articles and resources. You can freely reprint his weekly articles in your website, ezine, newsletter or ebook.


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