100 words per page!

December 7, 2008

Web usability guru, Jakob Neilsen, is stirring the pot again – this time recommending that we aim for no more than 100 words per web page. Based on his 2008 research, he states that Web users have time to read only about 28% of the words on a page during an average visit, with 20% more likely. Yikes!

Personally, I think he’s onto something (think about your own behaviour… do you really read those 600+ word pages on other people’s sites?). However in reality I can see that it’s the kind of goal that many of my clients would struggle with – especially those dealing with complex information.  I think it comes down to what kind of information you’re writing about. Marketing info? Keep it short. Fascinating article? Tell me more. But stick to basic web writing principles because your readers are still going to scan, not read.

I also think that with the swelling tide of webvideo that will be hitting our shores in 2009 and 2010, we’re going to be doing a whole lot less of reading and whole lot more of watching.

What do you think?

PS: This post is 180 words. Writing 100 words is HARD!

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One Response to “100 words per page!”

  1. Richard Says:

    An interesting idea. We’re currently working on redesigning our website, and we’ve been aiming for 100 – 150 words per page. On some pages, that’s fine, but on others (as you point out), it’s incredibly difficult – it certainly does depend upon what type of content you’re looking at.


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