Brevity is constructive

Life teaches the good use of time. Time teaches the value of life
Life teaches the good use of time. Time teaches the value of life

There has been a long standing debate as to what is the most number of clicks a user will endure without getting frustrated to getting where they want to go. Steve Krug proposes that the question be dealt with slightly differently and that we address it as follows: “it doesn’t matter how many… click[s], as long as each click is… mindless…”

Whilst the user is on a mission and on a direction towards their intended goal — and importantly they sense that they are moving towards that in an effortless fashion, then they don’t mind making more clicks than the standard minimum that analysts assume. This research can be suggested to be biased or subjective, however it does seem to ring true, and we may even share such a gut feeling…

We all face continued choices when using the Internet and by making options and choices on your website mindless / effortless it just makes it easier to use.

Such advances in theory can also be applied to the content on the site. We also know the common phrase that to enter and improve rankings on search engines, websites need to increase content. Yet from the users perspective this is of course not always ideal. If the text is strictly relevant then great, however all too often websites overload pages with unnecessary text. This can clutter the page and make it difficult for designers to arrange the layout, as well as for developers to accommodate such activities.

E. B. White’s 17th rule in The Elements of Style:

“Vigorous writing is concise. A sentence should contain no unnecessary words, a paragraph no unnecessary sentences, for the same reason that a drawing should have no unnecessary lines…”

Image for post
Image for post

And though we may find it too compromising to do so at first, we should consider the benefits to the end user — mainly that each page becomes easier on the eye to read and navigate, and that those things that require prominence are given it. If you are still unconvinced we can put forward the suggestions that at least in two areas efforts should be made to reduce the word count: needless small talk, for example welcoming and introductory messages; and instructions for what is otherwise obvious steps to navigate and administer via other means.

With these simple factors in mind owners can make designers and developers a little more happy to have some breathing room in creating outstanding website!

Sources:

“Don’t make me think! A common sense approach to web usability” — Steve Krug (New Riders Publishing 2006)

William Strunk Jnr and E. B. White, The Elements of Style (Allyn and Bacon 1979)

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