Web Reading Experience is Terrible

If you take a look at the reading experience from a web page, you will see why attention deficit disorder (ADD) is so widespread these days.

Today, I went to one of my favorite sites, seeking for articles to read and here is what I found:

Web Reading Experience

Web Reading Experience

If you click on the picture to have a better look, you will notice 8 levels of information, most are irrelevant to the article, before you can get to the article’s contents (which I call the “meat”). Worse yet, a pop-up dialog jumped into my face and cover most of what little text left, leaving only 6 (yes, six) complete words for my reading enjoyment. Not that I was reading from a tiny netbook screen: my browser spans almost the entire 1920×1068 display–a good size by today’s standard. So, the net effect? When I click on the article, instead of being able to read it right away, I have to do two things: dismiss the pop-up dialog, then scroll down to see more text. The reading experience is simply terrible.

For the website designers out there, if you read this post: step back and start thinking about your visitor’s experience. In the above example, I did not count, but guessed the whole screen contains about over 200 words in various sizes. Of those, 6 complete words belong to the article I want to read, that’s about 3:100 signal-to-noise ratio. For now, I am going to use readability, which gives me what I want: the “meat”.


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