commanderW - 11:45 pm on Jun 11, 2010 (gmt 0)
I write REALLY LONG content (many of the "pages" running between 87,000 to 116,000 words) as a single document
Here's a good subject - So I wonder, do you have a way of breaking this text up?
I have two different considerations in this regard.
1 - Visual cues for the reader. For instance, the reader looks to the scroll bar and back to the text, and they have lost their place. I try to use all the html stuff - subheadings, paragraph indents, blockquotes, an occasional list, a horizontal rule. But I can't say I have a proven system for it. I try to be consistent and predictable, but that's it. Otherwise I'm making it up as I go. Do you feel the need to use any tricks or techniques in this regard?
2 - Layout - I am obsessed with making my pages shrink/expand, or rearrange to fit all screens. Handheld has thrown a new twist on things.
I feel a simple full screen width text area is just too big. Modern laptop screen are much wider than most book pages. Wide enough to cause the reader to get lost repeatedly as they go. So -
I have small divs which rearrange themselves as screen changes. Thus smaller articles.
I have large blocks which resize. But these don't work well as they shrink to fill 40% or 60% of a handheld screen, leaving the rest empty with words hanging over the div border.
I have generally chosen narrow fixed width columns (handheld size) which can float underneath each other if necessary, but are rather unwieldy and messy looking. These work fine on all screens. But I still have the pressure to end the piece before the reader winds up scrolling forever down the column. I resist breaking a long piece into two of these columns. When not on handheld this requires the reader to scroll back up and look for clues as to which column contains the rest of the article. My articles are getting shorter.
And in short, I am not at all happy with any of the choices I have learned to code.
How do you lay your long pages out ? Do you find that the issues I have mentioned are important? Or have you found that your readers do not actually need this kind of structuring?
That LENGTHY content is the hardest hit by all my visitors