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April 6, 2009

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First Two

I know I promised baguettes, and this is a particularly dorky thing to be blogging from your Paris hotel room, but I think this sort of stuff is important.

Another little data point from Jakob Nielsen about the way people read online: They generally only process the first two words of items in lists. Those could be products, they could be news articles, they could be philosophical arguments, whatever.

Especially if you work professionally on the web — vs. blogging intermittently — it’s really important to understand just how strange our brains and eyes become when we open up a browser. We turn into these crazed, ravenous info-squirrels leaping desperately from branch to branch.

This is of course not to say that all web writing needs to be

  • bulleted lists
  • with bold words

but rather, just remember: It’s not like a book. It’s not like a magazine. In fact, it’s barely even like reading. It’s more like wayfinding in a foreign city — something I, after today, know a little about — and you need to design things accordingly.

I can’t believe I just wrote this in Paris. I gotta go.

Posted April 6, 2009 at 1:18 | Comments (0) | Permasnark
File under: Briefly Noted
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