The page itself is designed contrary to this insight. Narrowing the page to create an easier to read column makes the page longer, and introduces other factors that make the content more difficult to read, i.e parts of the desktop are visible, another page is partially visible, the information on the minimized page is condensed (search bar, tabs, etc). This is an interesting design insight, and I think Lynch does a good job - for the most part - illustrating how print and web are different in this way. Lynch points out that in print, a user sees a two page spread when reading a document, which allows them to see the entirety of two pages at the same time. Screens restrict the "two page spread." Or do they? Has lynch ever bought more than one monitor? Theoretically, a user could have a six page spread with six monitors, and if the user follows Lynches advice in minimizing windows for easier readability, then that spread could be doubled or tripled. Not only could users see an entire website at a glance, but they can even see multiple websites at a glance. This might be an absurd consideration on my part, but your audience has to play a role in web design. Gamers, for instance, are more likely to possess multiple monitors. Ha ha ha. While this is true for many websites, I find this to be untrue for practically any site that has one clear purpose as a distributor of a particular type of content. What I mean by this, is that some sites lend themselves well to browsing in such a way that clicking on a new page only makes it difficult to access more information. I'm thinking of forums, image boards, or blogs. My blog is currently set up in this way. Its helpful to users who want to spend a lot of time on a particular web page. In this way, scrolling is an easier navigation tool and might actually convince your reader that spending more time on your site takes less energy than it normally would.


Complex sentences like this one, with its introductory subordinate clause and parenthetical prepositional phrase, are going to be troublesome.

Complex compound sentences are hard to read.

It is Eggleston's position that the latter sentence here is better, because it is shorter, allows for easier reading and scanning, and that it means the same thing as the first sentence. He ignores the fact that both sentences contain different kinds of information and a different amount of information. This is to say that these two sentences do not mean the same thing. The first sentence more generally states that complex sentences are troublesome, and even serves as a definition and example of a complex sentence. "troublesome" suggests more meaning than "hard to read," and leaves the reader wondering in what ways complex sentences become a problem. It seems like most consideration about length of writing on the web ignores the fact that complex sentences contain more information. I like this point, although I feel the way Eggleston illustrates the difference between a long paragraph and blocked information is unfair. While it is true that his traditional paragraph example is harder to read, it is also in a smaller font and italicized. I do appreciate more white space between entities though, because it helps me distinguish entities on the screen/paper. Reading a manuscript or essay that is in print is always easier to interact with if things are double spaced.
Another point to consider is that chunking paragraphs in the way Eggleston suggests will almost always make your page's length longer. This could lead to unnecessary scrolling as pointed out by Lynch. I'm left wondering then, if these two pieces of wisdom are in conflict with each other.
I like this advice a lot. My philosophy professors stress that they do not want to see useless introductory phrases in expository assignments. As a relatively experienced reader, I am infuriated when writers put cliche's or stale language in front of the important information in their writing. It's like throwing a barrel at someone when the marathon starts.
A lot of Eggleston's rules have the ultimate effect of limiting the development of voices on the web. While I do think that writing for skimmers is valuable, if everyone wrote this way the content on the web would be terribly uniform and boring. Seriously, tossing out all sentences over 10 words must limit your ideas in some way.


  1. cut words that emphasize your point (really, truly)
  2. words that don't add to anything you've already said. Sure.
  3. use pronouns instead of phrases with unnecessary repeated words.
  4. phrases that tell the reader something they've learned earlier.
This sounds a lot like rules for writing technical documents. Guidelines such as these can be incredibly useful, and help your writing become less repetitive and wordy. However, it also limits an author's voice, which is something that is quite valuable on twitter and facebook, and many blogging platforms or even certain journalism websites. As an examples compare these two sentences:
The Spindle of Necessity is a magnificent blog.
The Spindle of Necessity is truly a magnificent blog.

Sure, truly is an emphasis word, but in this case it adds a sarcastic tone to the statement. This is to say that the entire sentence has shifted meaning. Are you telling me I'm not allowed to be sarcastic while writing on the internet?

Nielson. Long vs Short Content Strategy

Nielsons first illustration considering the relative cost and benefit of long articles vs short articles shows that short articles have slightly more benefit relative to the cost. He thinks that in his model, although shorter articles have 60% less reading time than longer articles, he believes it is safe to assume that they retain 70% of the benefit. He states that a good editor can cut 40% of information without removing 30% of the articles value. Sure, but can't this also apply to editors of longer articles? Neilsen's math shows that when users spend less time on longer articles that aren't as valuable as others, and users that read exclusively long articles (which include a mixture of very useful and moderately useful articles), they receive more benefit than readers of exclusively short articles.
  1. Short is good for impulse buyers and many readers
  2. Long is good for comprehensive coverage and solutions
  3. Both is probably optimal, because it doesn't limit your content.
In this article, Neilson uses the word "really" twice in one sentence. Did this guy not read Price?

Short vs Long in Marketing

The main point of this article is to show cases in which having a short home page is beneficial. Some insights are: According to Bob, short copy performs better when there is low perceived risk, low cost, and low commitment. Also, when the customer has an emotional, impulsive, and “want-oriented” motivation.

Short home pages might also perform better because there is less information to distract the user from what you want them to do. the amount of space the signup button occupies on a web page is relative - it could occupy 20% of the space on a short home page, or 5% of the space on a longer one. This might translate into how much time the user devotes to each particular entity on a site.

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