Everyone’s short of time these days! No one has time to spare, and studies have found that site visitors tend to read no more than 20% of the content on a webpage! So what are they doing instead? Many site visitors scan a web page rather than read through the entire thing.
Because many visitors only scan a webpage, it’s imperative to ensure your website and content are scannable. But how can this be done? That’s what we’ll cover in this article!
Scannable Sites – Why & What’s It All About?
Most web designers create web pages with the goal of keeping site users on the page as long as possible. However, it’s also necessary to ensure web pages are scannable. Scannable pages are perfect for people who don’t have enough time to read everything on the page. Instead, they can find the information they need and read only through that. It’s faster and easier this way.
However, another reason to have scannable web pages is to make it faster and easier for customers to decide to make a purchase. The faster and easier a customer’s journey is, the more conversions you’ll have.
Scannability is all about making information more accessible and faster for site visitors to find and read. This means they have all the information needed to make a decision to buy. They no longer have to scroll endlessly or even wonder what to do next.
Considerations for Creating Scannable Web Pages
If you’re not sure how to go about making your web pages scannable, then ask yourself these questions:
- Why are people arriving on a specific page? What’s their intent?
- What kind of information do site visitors need to help them make a decision?
- Is the site visitor able to see the next step in their journey on your site right away?
Here’s an example: when someone wants to sign up for a Google Gmail address, they need the following information:
- Learn facts about Gmail
- Find where and how to sign up
- Learn about the features that Gmail offers, along with helpful information, and more
When you land on the Gmail page, you instantly see scannable text waiting. The first text is a short paragraph that describes the product. Under that, Google shares additional details of services that are included with a Gmail account, along with an obvious button that says, “Create an account.”
The user instantly learns some of the basic information about a Gmail account, what it comes with, as well as where to sign up. This is scannable information that makes a site user’s interaction faster and easier. What’s more, a site user is not left to wonder what their next step should be.
Scannable pages help users complete their tasks faster and easier. In addition, the bounce rate is lower on scannable pages. This is a great way to improve your ranking in the search engines, too. A site that’s scannable also looks and seems more credible to site visitors. This is because a site visitor’s questions are answered right away, which generates higher levels of trust and credibility.
How to Create Scannable Web Pages
Now you have a basic understanding of scannable web pages, and what they’re all about, you’re ready to learn how to create great scannable pages.
1). Use Visual Hierarchy
Visual hierarchy is a method that is used to organise the content on your website, which is consistent with how users will use the website. For example, consider a blog page. Most of the time, you’ll find the headline is first, followed by the blog’s content. The information may be arranged with subheadings, too. This is what most people expect to find when they land on a blog.
In addition, site visitors usually expect the site’s navigation to be at the top of each web page. No one wants to scroll a long web page, endlessly searching for links to other parts of the site. This will cause a high bounce rate and lower your site in the search rankings.
So, to make it easier for site visitors, the key is to organise your site’s web pages in ways that people expect. Don’t try some new arrangement, as this will quickly frustrate site visitors. They will leave without spending time on the site.
2). Use Negative Space
What’s meant by the term “negative space”? This is also referred to as “white space,” which is a part of your site’s design that is purposely left empty. White space is the space between paragraphs and design elements. The purpose of negative space is to provide site user’s with a little space to relax their eyes. It’s like adding breathing space to your pages. What’s more, white space makes a page more scannable.
Negative space makes it easier for site visitors to find the information they want. The empty space also makes it easier to take in large amounts of information and then use it to make a decision on what to do next.
Here are some essential elements of negative space that site visitors will notice right away:
- Titles and headers that let the user know they’re in the right place
- A navigation header or menu
- A CTA that shows what to do next
- A picture or illustration that provides context to the page
- Imperative information that includes an introduction to what the page is about or an excerpt of the information they’ll find in the blog post
Web pages generally don’t require other elements, including ads, social media sharing buttons, and more.
Ensure the Next Step is Obvious
Remember that all the pages on a website are part of your customer’s journey. Everything should be arranged in a hierarchy that’s logical to them. This means that site visitors expect a homepage to lead to product pages, a checkout page, and more.
Always aim to make the site visitor’s next step in their journey obvious. This may mean putting a CTA above the fold, where customers can see it right away. Be sure to only include one CTA per page, however. This keeps visitors from becoming confused or wondering what they should do next.
Test Every Page on Your Site for Scannability
Testing each page on your website for scannability is essential. This way, you’re sure the page has been optimised in a way that makes each user’s journey easy and fast.
As you test each page on the site, be sure to keep your customers’ journey in mind. Check to see how quickly it takes to go from A to B, for instance. And check for the following:
Readability: is the font large enough and easy to read on most devices? Does the page have enough negative space? Is the navigation obvious and in the expected place?
Extra features: check to see if each page contains elements that are not necessary. These will only confuse and overwhelm site visitors.
Use numbers rather than words: studies have shown that numbers stop the eye and are more compact, which makes them faster and easier to scan. If your page contains essential information, then be sure to use numbers instead of words.
Summing It Up
Scannable web pages have never been more important than now. What’s more, customers are now browsing sites through many devices, including their smartphones. Site visitors may even be accessing websites on the go. This means scannability is even more essential.
Scannable web pages make it faster and easier for site visitors to follow through on the actions they want to complete on your website. This can mean a lower bounce rate and a higher conversion rate for your website.
Liam is a website designer and digital marketer based in Leeds, West Yorkshire. He spent a decade working within the charity sector before moving into the marketing space a number of years ago. Liam always strives to do something slightly different with every project and always designs to deliver results, not just pretty websites.