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Optimum Page Length for Non-Tech Users?
after how many screens do they quite scrolling?
old_expat




msg:919918
 3:46 am on Feb 8, 2006 (gmt 0)

Part of my site redesign is looking at page lengths. I noticed that some pages have become quite long.

I think I read somewhere that 1.5 to 2 screens is max-optimum.

Page width 760 px .. *most* content is in 430 px (includes 5 px padding) center columns. Proportional fonts, 150% line height, ample white space.

Scintillating content, of course!;>)

 

jlr1001




msg:919919
 2:42 pm on Feb 8, 2006 (gmt 0)

Scintillating content, of course!

Can you guarantee that? Because if you can then I think your question is moot.

If your reader has a vested interest in your content they will read it in its entirety. That is provided:

1) They have enough time right at that moment
2) The text is concise
3) It answers the reader's question, meets the reader's immediate need.

Another thing to consider is that people still print out online text. So provide an easy means of sending your text to a printer. This could either be a "print this" link or a link to export the file as a pdf document.

Finally you could foster the "viral" spreading of your content by making it easy for me to email it to others, provided that it meets a need that many people might have.

-jlr1001

old_expat




msg:919920
 2:54 pm on Feb 8, 2006 (gmt 0)

""Scintillating content, of course!""

"Can you guarantee that?"

Not really .. the comment was basically a joke.

I have some pages where I have added bits and pieces over time and some are quite long .. on the order of 8 screens high. It's relatively easy to add another page or so.

I'm just trying to arrive at a happy medium of "above the fold" vs scrolling too much .. ergo .. how much is too much?

Beagle




msg:919921
 6:05 pm on Feb 10, 2006 (gmt 0)

I noticed that you're asking about "pages" rather than, say, articles or items. If you have various pieces of content on one long page that would make as much sense to the reader if they were separated - I'd say separate them. In the one long page set-up, I'm wondering how returning visitors would know what "bits and pieces" are new since their last visit.

hunderdown




msg:919922
 7:39 pm on Feb 10, 2006 (gmt 0)

If you really have "bits and pieces" in the one long page, another reason to separate them is that you will then end up with two (or more) different pieces, each with a different focus, each possibly drawing in visitors from different searches.

old_expat




msg:919923
 1:31 am on Feb 11, 2006 (gmt 0)

"If you really have "bits and pieces" in the one long page, another reason to separate them is that you will then end up with two (or more) different pieces, each with a different focus, each possibly drawing in visitors from different searches."

One example is travel info for a geographic area. Any time I come across something interesting, I add that information .. maybe a paragraph .. maybe 2.

At some point, a "..more" link probably needs to point to page 2.

Another, "good places to stay" or "good services" often keeps growing. I have providers writing asking me to include their info.

old_expat




msg:919924
 1:34 am on Feb 11, 2006 (gmt 0)

"I'm wondering how returning visitors would know what "bits and pieces" are new since their last visit."

I wish I had a good answer for that .. but I don't.:(

One more issue to rethink. Thanks for mentioning that.

tedster




msg:919925
 4:31 am on Feb 11, 2006 (gmt 0)

I tested this two years ago on a site with a non-techie but educated, professional audience. The audience was highly motivated to take in the content, which was in the nature of real and hard to find insider information from a top expert in the field. The articles went from 5 to 15 pages, depending on where I put the page breaks, and we measured how many people who began the article actually loaded the final page -- that is, they stuck with the article from beginning to end

We found that 4.5 screens was the break point -- the highest number of readers went all the way through the article. The drop-off was rather steep on both sides: too many new pages seems to be as bad as too much scrolling!

These articles had images and charts on every page, by the way -- they weren't straight text by any means.

Purposeinc




msg:919926
 9:34 pm on Feb 12, 2006 (gmt 0)

Mr. Ted,

What you described in your post is exactly what I am working on right now. Can you give me more detail, as I am not sure if you are referring to pages clicked through, or scrolled down, or some combination of the above.

That sounds like you have some very good data that would be very helpful to know!

Thanks in advance
dk

Beagle




msg:919927
 8:50 pm on Feb 13, 2006 (gmt 0)

old_expat -- Unless you already have an overabundance of levels on the site, the examples you gave seem as if they'd work well if there was a main page with links to pages one level down. Your "more on page 2" idea, but with just enough about a topic on the main page to whet some interest, then a link to the rest of the article/information. The breadcrumb-type navigation WebmasterWorld uses at the top of these pages could help the reader keep track of what main section they're in.

Sometimes the need for more pages comes along without you planning for it. What was originally one page on my website is now a main page with links to "more" on 29 others. (And when I add a page of new info, I put a bright red "New!" next to its lead on the main page for about a month.)

old_expat




msg:919928
 4:41 am on Feb 15, 2006 (gmt 0)

Hi Beagle,

"old_expat -- Unless you already have an overabundance of levels on the site, the examples you gave seem as if they'd work well if there was a main page with links to pages one level down. Your "more on page 2" idea, but with just enough about a topic on the main page to whet some interest, then a link to the rest of the article/information."

I'm thinking that this issue may be one of the "Top XX" things that makes a site good .. from several points of view.

1 - It gets a number of subjects on a given topic in front of the user's eyes.

2 - It allows a fair degree of flexibility

3 - It *sort of* acts as a sub-sub menu .. or a secondary form of navigation.

"The breadcrumb-type navigation WebmasterWorld uses at the top of these pages could help the reader keep track of what main section they're in."

I have to admit to being a dummy in knowing how to integrate this into my site in some "automated" fashion. My site suffers from lots of "I didn't plan well" issues .. because it started as a "hobby" site and is about 10X larger than I originally planned for it to be.

As an example, about 70% of my pages are .htm and 30% are .php

"Sometimes the need for more pages comes along without you planning for it. What was originally one page on my website is now a main page with links to "more" on 29 others. (And when I add a page of new info, I put a bright red "New!" next to its lead on the main page for about a month.)"

None of the pages I'm fussing over right now have quite than many, but there are several that can be broken into 2, 3 or 4 pages.

Very honestly .. in many cases, the reason I put so much on one page is because of the menu system I was using. I simply didn't have room for the number of items I should have had on the side menu.

The things I'm trying to decide related to this are:

1 - How much is too much.
2 - How much is not enough.

In one or 2 cases, if I went by an absolute standard, I would break one page into 3 logical items .. and the first 2 pages would be fine .. but the third page would only be 1/2 - 3/4 of a screen.

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