In the age of ever increasing and pressed schedules, creating and maintaining succinct messaging could be the difference between doing business and losing it. This is especially true in the online world. Think about it – in the age of smartphones and tablets, people are reading less and less and are much more likely to scan for pertinent information.
Gone are the days of in-depth explanations, covering every minute detail related to what you do. Visitors to your site want to get in, get what they need and get out. This is especially true if your audience is higher up the food chain. If you’ve ever tried to hold a meeting with a CEO for more than 20 minutes, or even just tried to set one, you know what I mean!
One of the best pieces of website design advice I can give you is to keep your copy short and sweet.
According to a report released by the Nielsen Norman Group, on an average website page, users take time to read at most, 28% of the words, with 20% being more likely. Reportedly, people are much more likely to scan a site’s text, especially if the audience is made up of higher-literacy users.
Given this, the best way to approach getting the most pertinent information in front of your audience is in small, bite-sized pieces. Try to limit blocks of text to 200 words or less to maximize your time with your viewer. Better yet, limit your 200 (or less) word blocks to one per page on your site.
Report results per the Nielsen Norman Group’s findings
It’s interesting to note that according to this research, it’s much more important to have an engaging design, including compelling imagery and a strong user interface, as visitors will spend some time taking in those aspects of your website. Focus on visual communication of the tone, feel and emotion you’re looking to depict in your site. This is what will ultimately compel the reader to actually read what you have to say in the first place.
As with most things in life, a “less is more” approach is usually the best one. The same holds true for website design advice. Particularly if you’re trying to communicate to your audience using the written word, keep it short and sweet, and you’ll put yourself in the best position to be heard.