Blogs by Edeltraud F. Fellendorf
CRITICAL INFORMATION AUTHORS NEED TO KNOW ABOUT DIGITAL TEXT -- A MUST READ!
1/29/2010 6:07:59 PM
Ever wonder why you have to keep paragraphs short and vary your sentence lengths to keep a reader's attention in the virtual world?
While this is a little off subject, I thought it important enough to draw your attention to it. More than likely, Mom will be publishing her book electronically (coupled with a POD service). So I've been researching the format.
In my research, I've always read time and again that you need to keep paragraphs short, and vary your sentence lengths to keep a reader's attention. Well, here's the REAL REASON you need to do this, and something to keep in mind if you publish anything in an electronic format:
Electronic text hinders reading comprehension!
According to Jakob Nielson, a recognized Web-usability authority, a person reads 25% slower when reading from a computer screen (Beam, 2009). Nielson also notes, “The Online medium lends itself to more superficial processing of information (Kiviat, 2009, p. 104).
By studying eye movements, Nielson revealed that there is a startling difference between reading hard copy print and a computer’s digitized screen. On a computer, people tend to read in an F-shaped configuration, focusing horizontally then dropping their eyes down the page to see what else is there.
By doing this, he discovered people had tuned out what they were reading by the time they hit the bottom of the screen: “You’re just surfing the information. It’s not a deep learning” (Kiviat, 2009, p. 104).
In her article, "Hypertext fiction reading: Haptics and immersion" (2008), Norwegian Researcher Ann Mangen also asserts,
"One main effect of the intangibility of the digital text is that of making us read in a shallower, less focused way. As shown by numerous studies of screen reading, we tend to scan text on screen. Such a reading mode is highly vulnerable to distractions, particularly when these distractions are as easily available as a click with the mouse (pp. 408-409)."
Beam, A. (2009, June 19). I screen, you screen, we all screen. Boston Globe. Retrieved from http://www.boston.com/ae/media/articles/2009/06/19/paper_vs_computer_screen/
Kiviat, B. (2009, November 23). The paperless chase. Time Magazine,104.
Mangen, A. (2008). Hypertext fiction reading: Haptics and immersion. Journal of Research in Reading, 31(4): 409-419. Retrieved from http://faculty.winthrop.edu/kosterj/WRIT501/readings/mangenreadingonscreen.pdf
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