Web Site Design
Section 9.4.2.
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Writing Web Documents for Usability

A recent issue of the WebDevelopment newsletter had a discussion about the fact that the majority of web surfers *SCAN* web pages rather than read them thoroughly. This leads to some useful suggestions for how to design web pages to get the information you want presented across as effectively as possible. Here is an excerpt from that newsletter:

An excellent study on this subject is located at

There's a lot (A LOT) there, and Jacob doesn't follow his own advice very well, but it's a very interesting and useful study. A brief summary is located at

Jacob's basic findings:

Jacob's Prescription:

Especially interesting was his finding that "promotional language imposes a cognitive burden on users who have to spend resources on filtering out the hyperbole to get at the facts."

"When people read a paragraph that starts 'Nebraska is filled with internationally recognized attractions,' their first reaction is no, it's not, and this thought slows them down and distracts them from using the site."

Since I've mentioned the WebDevelopment newsletter several times now, it's probably only fair to pass on the info on how to subscribe to it:


In the BODY of your message, put: JOIN

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