Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Make a Book

Reading from computer screens is tiring for the eyes and about 25 percent slower than reading from paper. No wonder people attempt to minimize the number of words they read. To the extent this reason explains users' behavior, they should read more when we get high-resolution, high-scanrate monitors in five years since lab studies have shown such screens to have the same readability as paper.
The Web is a user-driven medium where users feel that they have to move on and click on things. One of our users said: "If I have to sit here and read the whole article, then I'm not productive." People want to feel that they are active when they are on the Web.
Each page has to compete with hundreds of millions of other pages for the user's attention. Users don't know whether this page is the one they need or whether some other page would be better: they are not willing to commit the investment of reading the page in the hope that it will be good. Most pages are in fact not worth the users' time, so experience encourages them to rely on information foraging. Instead of spending a lot of time on a single page, users move between many pages and try to pick the most tasty segments of each.
Modern life is hectic and people simply don't have time to work too hard for their information. As one of our test users said, "If this [long page with blocks of text] happened to me at work, where I get 70 emails and 50 voicemails a day, then that would be the end of it. If it doesn't come right out at me, I'm going to give up on it."


Sayshun Jay said...

Where do get that from? It's cool!

gwen said...

That's so true. Who has enough spare time to invest it in reading lots of different web pages, that ultimately might not be what they are looking for. I find when I'm searching that so many different pages come up - that I just have to glance through the ones that look the most likely and hope for the best. On the other hand sometimes you can make a really good find and that kind of makes up for the frustrating search. x

Wendy said...

Agree with Gwen - also think it needs some special time of patience to read from the screen - I would much rather have a portable object, likes sheets or a book. As well as holding it, it also feels like it has more credibility. But you never know. how do you think this relates to the websites we viewed a couple of weeks ago like the fictional companies? w

tim said...

Couldn't get through to the library of self help but will suggest a book here. I can show you how to add authors if you want.
my book would be:
'The Outsider', Albert Camus
It just opened my eyes to alot of things, like his other books but that was the first one I read so it has more resonance with me.
I can write a lengthier explaination at some point for the blog, let me know.