Use headings, sub headings and bullet points, and “front load” your content.
What can I do?
Guidelines for writing online content suggest, making it easier for your learners to skim (look at text quickly in order to have a general idea of the content) and scan (look at text to find some specific information).
You can do this by:
- Using headings, sub headings and bullet points
This allows your learners to find and absorb the most important points, and navigate through your content quickly.
- “Front loading” your content
If you make sure that the most important information is at the start of your paragraph, sentence or bullet point, there is less chance that your learners will miss it, if they are scanning or skimming rather than reading it word for word.
Research into how users read informational websites show that people read online content very differently to paper documents.
Studies have shown that they often do not read from top to bottom, or from word to word. Instead they “bounce around”, and read only about 20-28% of the content.
Eye-tracking studies show that people tend to “read” a web page in an F-shaped pattern. This means they look across the top, then down the side, and read further across if they find what they need.
Although reading an eLearning resource is undoubtedly a different experience, following these guidelines will still improve the clarity and readability of your content. This is true for everyone, including users of assistive technology.
- GOV.UK: How to write well for your audience, including specialists
- WCAG 2.4.10 Section Headings (Level AAA)
- NN Group: F-Shaped pattern for reading web content (original study)
- NN Group: How little do users read?
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