How Do Users Read on the Web? Good advice for Bloggers

For bloggers who write regularly, and those who read blogs frequently, it’s second nature that reading on any kind of monitor at the moment entails sacrifices on the part of the reader as much as the writer.

If you are writing for the web in any form, it’s wise to pay attention to the conventions that the medium imposes on readers in order to make an impact on your reader: paragraph length, choice of font, shorter sentences, using separate pages for longish articles with lots of text (so that readers get a break!)…

UseIt website answers the question in just two words: They don’t.

People rarely read Web pages word by word; instead, they scan the page, picking out individual words and sentences. In research on how people read websites we found that 79 percent of our test users always scanned any new page they came across; only 16 percent read word-by-word.

What other tips have you found on writing for the web? What helps your readers? What doesn’t?