Craft Copy That’s Skim and Scan-ABLE

Amanda Stoneman — February 23rd, 2015

Webpage users don’t read online content, they scan it. They’re usually in a hurry and only searching for relevant information. Make the most useful content more prominent by omitting all unnecessary words.

When searching the vastness of the internet, people are more inclined to scan and skim information rather than meticulously reading every word. Knowing this information will help you adapt your content to be more suitable to your user’s needs.

Why do users scan webpages?

  1. They’re usually in a hurry, looking for ways to save time.
  2. They’re good at scanning and know it’s not necessary to read every word.
  3. They’re just looking for information that matches their needs; the rest is irrelevant.

The Rule of Thumb for Writing Effective Webpages: Omit All Unnecessary Words

Words serving no purpose? Delete.
Sentences carrying no value? Remove.
Paragraphs neglecting your goal? Eliminate.

There are two types of content that should be omitted at all costs: needless pleasantries and useless instructions. Users don’t need to be welcomed to your webpage with introductory copy that conveys no useful information. Needless pleasantries and telling the user what to expect are wasted words on the page, just taking up space.

Useless instructions should also be avoided at any cost by making text, buttons and links self-explanatory. Users rarely ever read instructions, and if on the off-chance they do, it’s only after multiple, failed attempts at finding what they need. Have more faith in users being able to figure out your site without unnecessary instructions.

Beneficial Effects of Getting Rid of All These Needless Words

  • Reduce Noise Level
  • Useful Content Becomes More Prominent
  • Shortens Pages – Users Can See More at a Glance
  • More Content Shows Above the Fold – No Scrolling!

Useful Tip: Try Cutting Your Content in Half!
Chances are you’ll eliminate useless words without losing any value