Shorter web pages nearly 60% more usable
When usability guru Jakob Nielsen wanted to measure the effects of short web copy, he studied a web page about Nebraska.
One of the original passages said:
Then Nielsen rewrote the web page, taking out half of the words. The rewrite:
Short web page: 58% more usable.
Then Nielsen tested both pages for metrics including:
- Task time: the number of seconds it took users to find answers to questions like “On what date did Nebraska become a state?”
- Errors, or a percentage score based on the number of questions readers answered incorrectly
- Memory — a recall test asking such questions as “Please list any names of tourist attractions you remember from the site.”
- Subjective satisfaction, or how participants felt about the site’s quality, ease of use and likeability. This was measured by questions like “How frustrated did you feel while working on this site?”
The result: The shorter rewrite was 58% more usable.
Nearly half again more usable just by cutting out half the words? That’s a pretty good ROI on concise copy!
The 124% solution
Finally, Nielsen made the Nebraska web page more:
Here’s his rewrite:
With just these three tweaks, he more than doubled usability, to 124%.
How do you make your web pages shorter?