Don't read the play!

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This chapter does a great job of looking into the underlying reasons that webtext must be focused toward the reader. I found it very helpful to learn a few things that readers don't know we know about them... know what I mean? Kilian makes it seem like we have the insider scoop to writing webtext, and I think we are getting it.

I thought the part about Understanding how visitors scan webpages (1.1) was brilliant. I hate to keep making these comparisons but this concept kind of reminds me of back in the day when I played quarterback for my football team. I was third string so I rarely played offense, but I started on defense playing corner. So when I'd be on defense, ready for the offense to run the play, I kind of knew what was coming so I "read it" and went and stood where the ball was going to be thrown, or ran to where I knew the offense was going to run the ball. Cheating? Maybe? Or being smart? Perhaps? Either way, I hit a kid from the side who never saw me coming, and got yelled at: "Don't read the play Lonigro!" Probably with more profanity.

That's what Kilian is talking about. He's saying that these studies have been done about how readers read so why not take advantage of some of this info and set up the webpage to the format that will make it most entertaining, or interesting. For example, people tend to start in the upper left-hand corner and move from left to right down to the bottom of the page. Also, short paragraphs received twice the number of "eye fixations" that long paragraphs did. But my favorite was:

"larger type encouraged scanning; smaller type encouraged careful reading."

I would have never thought of that, but it's true. If I come across a small set of text, I tend to learn forward, maybe squint a little, and dig into it. But if I see large text I am more likely to scan it quickly for key words and move on. I really enjoy this reading between the lines stuff that Kilian does, it makes me feel smart!

And did anyone else think that the exformation he was talking about seemed a lot like an inside joke? I did. It was like cool connection between you and your readers. (Yeah, I sounded like a dad and said "cool.")

Back to reality.

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This page contains a single entry by Andy published on September 25, 2008 11:10 AM.

The 10 "Webtext-ments" was the previous entry in this blog.

Don't Respect the Text is the next entry in this blog.

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