Scannability is the method of implementing formatting and writing techniques to make your site easily digestible for the reader.
Why scannability is necessary for an effective user experience
A scannable webpage is crucial as research shows 79% of people scan web pages, as opposed to reading it thoroughly. By employing features like highlighted keywords or bulleted lists in your texts, readers can sift through information to find what's applicable or most important to them.
Scannability saves time
Applying these features to your text also saves your reader time and effort. We spend at least 10 seconds scanning a webpage before deciding whether or not it's beneficial to us. Due to this, your texts need to grab your reader's attention.
Scannable content is accesible content
For people who struggle to read long texts or someone who isn't that strong of a reader, scannability is imperative. The average American adult has difficulty reading above a sixth-grade reading level. By using scannable writing techniques, your content is inclusive and more engaging to all your users.
How do you test scannability?
For user-friendly content that targets your users’ needs, it’s important to test early and often. Content testing determines whether your user understands the message of your web page and if your content resonates with users. Continuously testing content helps to identify if you need to correct certain features like your scannability or readability.
Test content for scannability in the early stages
Test your content as early as the concept stage to know if users can easily comprehend your web pages. Consider conducting remote usability testing or customer interviews to test whether your content is easily scannable for users.
Remember, you don’t have to wait to write before testing. Consistently testing your content in the early stages will help you gauge how well your users comprehend the content. If user research reveals your content isn’t performing well for scannability, reconfigure it and incorporate features like shorter paragraphs, subheadings, bulleted lists, etc.
During testing, provide users with tasks to decipher how scannable your content truly is. Doing so will inform your next steps and helps to ensure scannability remains a top priority throughout your writing process.