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Friday, May 09, 2008

Skimming

Skimmer
  • When reading online, users spend more time on pages with more words, but only spend 4.4 seconds more for each additional 100 words. When you add more than 100 words to a page, users will only read 18% of the words on the page.
  • On an average visit, users read half the information only on pages with 111 words or less.
  • On average, users have time to read 28% of the words if they devote all of their time to reading. More realistically (after subtracting time spent looking at images and navigation features), users will read about 20% of the text on the average page.

All of which makes putting detailed notes online a waste of time, which is exactly my experience in help sessions this year, where the answer to most of the questions asked was in the notes, and many students admitted diving straight into the assessment without looking at the notes.

Not quite the average: An empirical study of Web use, ACM Transactions on the Web (TWEB) 2 (1) February 2008


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