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5 Quick Tips to Make a Website More Scannable

How-to-make-your-website-more-scannable How to Make a Website More Scannable

There is more content in our digital world than we can ever consume. It is becoming harder and harder for businesses, especially new ones, to attract the attention of their target audience and keep them engaged on their website long enough to fulfill a desirable action.

Nowadays, people want to find the desired information fast, without having to read every single word on your website. This is where website scannability comes in place.

What is a scannable website? A scannable website is a website that delivers the expected information almost instantaneously. Having a scannable website is very useful for both User Experience (UI) and decreasing your bounce rate.

This all sounds great, but how do you make your website more scannable? We have created a list of eight useful tips that will help you better understand what you need to do to make your website more scannable.

1. Apply a visual hierarchy

2. Use the negative space

3. Use numbers when possible

4. Place your main navigation on the header

5. Make your call-to-action (CTA) easy to spot

6. Use images

7. Make your written content easy to read

8. Offer a limited number of choices

1. Apply a visual hierarchy

Simply put, a visual hierarchy is a method of arranging and organizing the content on your website in a way that corresponds with natural human perception.

When done properly, visual hierarchy allows your users to see the main content on your website first.

For instance, when we want to read an article or a blog, we will spot the headline first, then the subtitle, and lastly, the blocks of text. When we have the text presented in this way, we can quickly scan the content for desired information and decide if the article is useful for us or not.

Here are the main factors to consider when building the visual hierarchy:

  • Font size – make your headlines and your subtitles slightly larger than the main body text.
  • Contrasting colors – use contrasting colors to draw your users' attention towards the important parts of your website.
  • Layout – people seem to associate similar things that are closer together as related to each other. To go along with this natural human behavior, make clickable sections on your website the same color and size.

You can also place links for your social media accounts on one side of your website and controls for navigation on the other.

Being consistent with your visual hierarchy will help your users find the desired information faster by navigating the relevant sections with more ease.

2. Use the negative space

Using the negative space in web design is very important as it helps the visual appearance of your website, making it look more scannable and less cluttered.

You can use the negative space to:

  • Create a break in your texts
  • Emphasize the primary message
  • Make important visual elements "pop up"
  • Guide the flow of your page

Because it helps your users navigate your page faster, the negative space is a must in designing a scannable website.

3. Use numbers when possible

We often associate numbers with important information such as facts and statistical data.

Using numbers where possible will grasp the attention of your users almost instantaneously.

Numbers are easily spotted amongst the letters, so make use of them to guide the attention of your readers. Numbers will help with your website's scannability as well as with building authority.

4. Place your main navigation on the header

We normally scan a website starting from the top to the bottom. This is why it is important to place your essential navigation sections on your header.

Depending on your website's main goal, you can choose to place the following layout elements on your header:

  • Key elements of your brand identity – suitable for new business as a way of presenting themselves to the users and informing them about their brand.
  • Links to your site's main categories – useful for websites that offer many products. This is a good way to divide them so your users can get faster to the desired category.
  • Contact information – good for websites that revolve around traveling, real states, shipping, etc., where people primarily search for contact information.
  • Search field – ideal for large eCommerce websites.

Deciding what to include in your header can be a tricky task. If you include too many elements, you risk creating a cluster in the most important part of your website. On the other hand, if you fail to implement the layout element your users need, you risk bad UX.

5. Make your call-to-action (CTA) easy to spot

 According to the best media buying agencies you know you've implemented your CTA properly for scannability when:

  • Your CTA is easily distinguished from the website's background. It pops-up.
  • Your CTA is easy to click on regardless of the device your visitors use to browse the web.
  • Your CTA is accessible without scrolling
  • Your CTA button has a word limitation – 2 to 5 words
  • You removed all the clutter around your CTA button

CTA  serves to fulfill the purpose of any website as it calls for the desired action and it has to be planned carefully.

6. Use images

Images are a very useful tool for attracting people's attention. They also help with setting the general mood of your website and conveying the message.

Digesting the content intercepted with images is easier and less tiring for your users.

7. Make your written content easy to read

Always make sure your written content passes the test of readability. Here is how to do it:

  • Use clear visual design and typography
  • Be quick when making your point
  • Use common language and simple words
  • Be specific with numbers

If your content is in an indistinguishable font or made of complex words, the users will bounce out of your website in a blink of an eye.

8. Offer a limited number of choices

When you offer the users choices, the rule "less is more" applies.

The more choices you present to your users, the more time it will take them to take the desired action.

Limit the number of choices presented on each page. This way, your users will find the desired information and act upon it faster.

You might think that scannability is not that important, but there's the whole science behind it. Nielsen Norman group researched how people scanned websites and recognized the four main patterns.

As this might help you better understand how to organize your website's elements for better scannability, we will explain each pattern in more detail.

F-Pattern

When you don't include subheadings and bullets in the website, users tend to concentrate on the words at the beginning of lines and the top of the page, creating an eye-tracking pattern similar to the capital "F."

Scannable website

 [Source:nngroup.com]

As we can see in the image above, people were fixated more on the left side of the webpage, while the right side was almost completely neglected.

Knowing where people look when they search for wanted information can be very helpful for arranging your website's elements.

Spotted pattern

The spotted pattern implicates fixating on the individual words or a group of words scattered throughout the page. These words draw attention either because they pop up from the rest of the text or they resemble a word that users search for to complete the desired action.

spotted pattern

[Source:nngroup.com]

This discovery shows the importance of making vital links, words, and paragraphs stand out from the rest of the content. It also shows the importance of creating bulleted lists.

Layer-cake scanning pattern

A layer cake scanning pattern is the most effective way of scanning a webpage. The fixations are mostly placed on the headings and subheadings that are different in either shape or color.

layer cake

[Source:nngroup.com]

This is why you must carefully plan the naming, coloring, shaping, and font usage for each of your paragraphs.

Commitment pattern

A commitment pattern is something that every website should aim for. It is noticed that in this pattern, people don't just scan the webpage, but read the entire text displayed on the page. 

commitment pattern

[Source:nngroup.com]

You will earn the commitment pattern from your users when:

  • You present yourself as the trustworthy source
  • Have users loyal to your brand
  • The pages' titles match the users' search intent

Summary

Put important information into areas most likely viewed and make them stand out. Use short paragraphs and lists to better deliver a message to your user.

Incorporate quality images, common language, and simple words into your content to improve the readability of your content.

Make the best use of negative space to help your users navigate the website with more ease. And always remember the "less is more" rule when creating the website for scannability.

We hope that this article helped you understand the importance of designing your website for scannability.

More importantly, we hope we've given you enough valuable information on how to do it.

 

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Saturday, 25 June 2022

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