Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Does scrolling beat paging?

Your website visitors know how to scroll, according to internet guru Jakob Nielsen's latest report, based on an eyetracking study of over 500 webpages. Nielsens findings show that a website visitors viewing time was typically spread 80% above the fold and 20% below the fold.

"The fold" is the content visible on a webpage without having to scroll. This obviously varies depending on the size of the monitor used to view a webpage. You can read more about the fold on our website.

Important information goes above the fold

With 80% of visitors attention going on what they see without having to scroll, placing important information above the fold is critical. If you have a long article it is better to deliver it as a long page with scrolling than to split it up into short pages. You may need to write it in such a way that the important stuff comes first, a little like a magazine article is written, or if you are not able to structure the content to have the import information above the fold you can use clues to draw the attention of your reader to the text below the fold.

A visitor to your website should be able to understand who you are and what your website is about from the information presented above the fold. After that, if their attention is caught, they will scroll. A poll on about.com indicates that 49% of people will scroll if the page seems useful and only 5% of visitors hate to scroll.

3 Tips on scrolling

  1. Don’t try to squeeze your content into your page to make it more compact because most visitors will scroll down below the fold to see your entire page
  2. Make life easier for your visitors when scolling by dividing up your layout into sections
  3. You can encourage your visitors to scroll with teasers or a cut-off layout (such as cut off images or text)

    Stop worrying about the fold - Scrolling BEATS paging

    Placing important information above the fold is still a primary consideration for content writers and editors. Website visitors are comfortable with scrolling and are prepared to scroll to the bottom of the page in some cases.

    Read the full report on Jakob Nielsens Alertbox

    Whats Twitter, whats all the fuss about and should I be using it?

    So what is Twitter?
    Twitter gives a voice to even the weakest signal. It can help you make better choices and gives you a platform where you can influence whats happening in the world.

    Twitter is a social networking and micro-blogging service that allows you to send short messages, 140 characters in length, that answer the question “What’s happening now?” or "Whats got my attention?". The messages, called “tweets”, can be read by your friends or “followers”. It could be breaking news, a great deal at your favourite shop, a local traffic jam (hands free of course) or simply a friendly hello. You can access Twitter through the internet, on your smart phone or via SMS on a simple mobile phone.

    Twitters growth has come from older adults who might not have used social network sites before, the NewYorkTimes reported. You might like to think about the implications for your organisation as more and more of your customers join Twitter.

    What can Twitter do for your business?

    Twitter helps you stay connected with your customers and connected customers are more likely to think of you when they want something. As a business you can use Twitter to:

    * Bring customers into your shop by sharing information ("New stock from Italy unpacked today")
    * Show appreciation to your customers ("thx 2 all who sent in their IT horrer stories. The winner is
    * Gather feedback ("which was the most fun - the chipmunks slide or the jack in the box?")
    * Gather more feedback - Imagine people are having a great experience using your widget, wouldn't you want to know?
    * Offer tips ("always do what your mother told you")

    Are people Twittering about your business and what are they saying?

    Do you know what people are saying about you right now on Twitter and don't you want to be part of the conversation - I would! Heres how to listen in and you don't even need a Twitter account.

    Listening in means starting with searching for you business name. You can use the Twitter search at search.twitter.com or Googles Twitter search - we have embedded this on our website at www.spiral.co.nz/twitter - to make it easy for you to find.  If the buzz is good ... great, you have testimonilas you can use. If the buzz is critical ..., great, you can do something about it.

    If you want to be part of the conversation you will need to get a Twitter account and start tweeting. If you want to influence whats being said about you, you will need to get tweeting.

    Search Twitter now to hear whats being said, right now, about your company, product or brand.