Scannability refers to the ease with which a user can read and absorb content on a webpage. Online readers scan webpages; they rarely read word-for-word.
Content that is considered “scannable” helps users quickly access the information they need to make well-informed decisions. Following are tips for writing scannable copy:
- Include headings and subheadings.
Make them brief and purposeful. Headings should let users know immediately what information they'll find under them.
- Use short, succinct paragraphs.
Limit to 2-4 lines. (Not sentences. Lines.) Write concise sentences that support the paragraph’s main idea. One-sentence paragraphs are fine. Don’t repeat information or unnecessarily elaborate.
- Convert paragraphs to bulleted or numbered lists.
The bullets/numbers draw the eye, and shorter phrases deliver information more efficiently than paragraphs.
- Emphasize important words and phrases.
This helps users find the key information on the page. Use selectively to maximize impact. Italics may be used to highlight key words, but use sparingly. (They impede readability.)