Wednesday, May 10, 2006

Interesting Research...

Interesting Research. Someone hooked a bunch of people up and monitored their eyeballs – in an effort to see how people read web content. Sort of makes sense, it boils down to:
  • Read the top of the page
  • Scan down a bit to the first real piece of content
  • Read it
  • Scan down the left looking for anything interesting
That seems to fit in with how I scan a page. Look at the top, read the first real bit of content, and then scan the rest. It fits in with the way we write typically as well. You might look at the top of this page in order to figure out “yes, I’m at the right place (or not)” and then read the introductory paragraph and scan the rest quickly.

After reading this, it is unlikely I’ll write blog entries like this one anymore! According to that article – without nice big heading breaks or separate pages, it is unlikely that many of you would have read the entire thing or absorbed it. You might have read the bit about a new blog I’m reading – but the rest of it was probably scanned and not really read.

Using More than one header

Maybe I need to start using headers! To break it up. It is a problem I have. When I’m writing on the books I tend to go on and on and on (and on…). I really relied on my editors to say “enough already, we need a break here”. They are the ones that stick in the nice sub-headings for me many times (something I really appreciate).

I’ll keep the ideas from that page in mind for the future. I had three other articles I was going to talk about here as well, now I just think I’ll save them for another day…
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12 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said....

In the "There's a first time for everything" category, I find myself disagreeing with you. There's a huge difference between your blog content and what's generally out there on the web. Your entries are well written, an attribute not commonly found, particuarly on a techie blog. Your conversational style brings people into your blog. Changing that style would be akin to shooting yourself in the foot.

As a side-note, you might want to check out the book "On Writing" by Stephen King. It's not a horror novel, it's about how he got started writing and is a primer on how to write. That isn't to say I think you need to read it, but I think you would find it both entertaining and thought provoking.

Wed May 10, 10:36:00 AM EDT  

Blogger melanie caffrey said....

I guess I'm not sure I would qualify this blog as a "techie" blog.

Tom, you can disagree with me, if you'd like, but since this is the tkyte blog, as opposed to something like the oracletom blog, to me this means that the author, tkyte, will discuss whatever he likes.

On the other hand, I do notice quite a few so-called "Techie" blogs which have very little technical content at all.

These would be more aptly named "Post here if you're my friend" or "Post here if you like the way my picture looks", for they really offer very little in the way of actual technical information.

I do agree, however, that Tom's blog is well written. Tom is, after all, an author, and has had lots of practice writing. :)

I'll have to have a look at "On Writing" by SK.

Hemingway has a book, similarly titled, which is fantastic (and just as chockful of periods as many of his novels). :-)

Another great book on writing is "The Writing Life" by Annie Dillard.

Similarly, one for the "list" is a Thoreau-esqe book she wrote called "A Pilgrim at Tinker Creek".

Wed May 10, 11:01:00 AM EDT  

Anonymous Lloydy said....

That is so true - I barely read any of that highlighted blog entry. I read all of this one :)

Wed May 10, 11:04:00 AM EDT  

Blogger Bill S. said....

"On Writing" was a good read, but make sure you don't have expectations going in. It is more of a "this is what I have found" book as opposed to a "this how you can/should do this" book. King has some excellent insights, and I have a large number of his novels (as well as a few of his other books such as Danse Macabre) so I obviously enjoy his style. IIRC, "On Writing" also comes as an audio book.

Wed May 10, 11:14:00 AM EDT  

Blogger KD said....

I think a blog, techie or not, says a lot about the person, his/her style etc.
Has anyone ever tried to goto next blog from Tom's blog or your own blog? please try it. It's strange/interesting to find out who is sitting right next to you.
That defines "a blog is completely different from the blog right next to it. Just like humans."
I think some research needs to be done.
Research Title: "Me, Myself, and my Blog"

Wed May 10, 01:14:00 PM EDT  

Anonymous Anonymous said....

So languages that read right to left must be effing backwards... will Chinese be W or M?

Wed May 10, 01:28:00 PM EDT  

Blogger Alberto Dell'Era said....

I'm wondering whether this research may apply to CVs also ;)

Wed May 10, 01:52:00 PM EDT  

Blogger mchughetal said....

I have read your column for years, liked it so much I use Oracle External tables to normalise my favourites .. heh heh

Wed May 10, 06:10:00 PM EDT  

Blogger Marcio said....

Good point, sometimes articles with some headers are more comprehensible as well as easy to read. "Split and Conquer" :)

Thu May 11, 12:05:00 AM EDT  

Anonymous Sam said....

Are you kidding me?

You sure have a good style of presentation. This blog is really long but you sure had the readers interest going while reading.

http://tkyte.blogspot.com/2006/05/three-days-in-munich.html

The way you waited till the end to say who the person was with you when you refered "we" all along the blog was really holding the readers interest and beautiful presentation skill. I think because of the excess volume of information to keep up, people select and read the ones they like the most and am sure most visitors to your blog are really curious about what you are upto ;-)

Thu May 11, 10:14:00 AM EDT  

Blogger kevin lidh said....

When I'm reading blogs, I think my eyes are drawn to links (whether I decide to click on them or not). I suppose subconsciously I assume that if there's a link, it had to have been interesting to the blogger thus...

Fri May 12, 08:54:00 AM EDT  

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