Wednesday, March 23, 2005

Useful Advice 

Jakob Nielsen is a usability guru for the internet. He examines how people use web pages then advises companies how to make sites consumer friendly. He recently posted a new study that is an eyeopener. It focuses on low-literacy users, of whom there are many. He found that those who do not read well are quite different in how they approach web pages by comparison with good readers. Good readers skim and skip through copy. Poor readers plow through copy a word at a time and pause at multisyllabic words to work them out. Poor readers read less because it is too difficult. Here is the key advice that Nielsen provides:

The main and most obvious advice is to simplify the text: use text aimed at a 6th grade reading level on the homepage, important category pages, and landing pages. On other pages, use text geared to an 8th grade reading level.

His other advice is common sense: Prioritize information. Streamline the page design. Simplify navigation. Optimize search.

Good advice for PR practitioners whether or not they work on web pages.


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