Forum magazine (the organ of DIK, a Swedish union) has a feature about one of my favourite subjects, reading on the web. The author is Tomas Dalström, the article’s in Swedish, but the main points are:
- Text is more attractive than pictures
- The most common mistake is to have text which is too short
- 92% of readers look at text first, not the pictures
When I first read this, I was surprised by the ‘text is often too short’ comment, but (unless my Swedish has gone completely haywire) he qualifies this by explaining that short text often lacks the necessary words to lock in the readers interest. One of the cool things about the article is that he links content to cash, that all texts are used in some way and have the potential to generate either a profit or, unfortunately, a loss if incorrect. Words equal money – I like that.
I think that there is a happy medium to be found, clearly you don’t want text which is so short that you struggle to get your meaning across. But I still remain to be convinced that reading longer texts on a computer screen is something we can do with any degree of success.
Raspberry Frog has a similar feature about reading, going back over Jakob Nielsen’s eye tracking work. It has some examples of good practice, in their opinion, from the non-profit sector.
And finally, speaking of the non profit sector check out User Experience for Non-Profits which has a good article on recruiting research participants.