Four Things to Consider when Understanding User’s Reading Behavior

Time and again, studies have shown that users are more likely to scan a block of text rather than thoroughly read it. With a study by Nielsen Norman Group recording only 16% of people actually allotting time to look through an entire content, creating one that effectively calls the attention of users is a challenge to those looking into spreading information through web content. This then calls for establishing a greater foundation to build a more valuable content for target users, and the way to do so is to be able to understand their behavior when visiting and reading content on websites. So, to improve your content and make the reading experience more pleasurable and engaging for readers, here are a few things to consider when it comes to understanding your users’ reading behavior.


Good design can prevent F-shape scanning

There are considerably a number of reading behaviors that users do, specifically scanning patterns. Among those is one pattern that undeniably stands out as the most commonly observed behavior, the F-shaped pattern. This scanning pattern though widely used is considerably bad for users and businesses since the tendency is that big chunks of information are missed out in the process. Of course, while it is the dominant behavior of users on the web, it can still be prevented. Having a good design on your website can efficiently prevent users from leaning towards this type of scanning behavior and instead focus on understanding the information that you have.


Having scannable content is important

Other than having a good design, ensuring that the content is scannable and is easy to comprehend guarantees a better response from users as well. Fixating on the need to come up with content that is short and on point favors users looking into acquiring information right away. Utilizing short bursts of content by using meaningful and clearly defined headings or subheadings is an excellent way of imposing the scannability of a text too. Highlighting keywords and considering the use of bulleted lists is another idea as people look at lists with bullets more often than those without. Ensuring that your content is scannable, concise, and objective helps reduce the user’s cognitive load, making it more appealing and enticing to read.


Be objective

Another point in assuring users that your content is worth reading is avoiding the use of the marketese language. Users detest this promotional and draggy form of writing and effectively steers them from scanning content more so to read it word-by-word. Instead, be objective and have high-value content right from the beginning of your content. With users now less likely to look beyond, and with people reading only the first few lines and scanning the rest of web content, having a strong informative hook right from the start to keep people going through the entire content is important.


Establish credibility

Lastly, no matter how concise and scannable the text is, you have to make sure that you are able to establish credibility with every information that you deliver. Have your claims supported with evidence and delivered in the most engaging way you can think of. Whether you make use of metaphors or other creative ways, it is important that the information that you deliver is factual and reliable.


At the end of the day, it all sums down to users not having all the time in their hands to read every content word-by-word. With this in mind, it is important that you learn how users behave when faced with content to read and try to adapt to it to be able to focus on what readers expect to see. Understanding users’ reading behavior is the foundation of being able to create amicable information for target readers. Doing so also gives you a competitive edge as you are able to cater to what people look for while increasing customer retention rates.


If you ever need a hand in crafting engaging content as well as creating a good design for your website, take a look at the services that we offer at MicroCreatives. We can help you out with copywriting, web and graphic design, web development, and animation. Our creative monsters would be more than willing to help turn your website into an engaging and informative space for your audience.