Break up text into segments
Online readers tend to skim pages rather than read word by word. Skimming is easier when information is broken up into segments, and when headings are used to announce the subject of each segment. Within segments, lists and emphasis can help readers extract the most salient information (Figure 14.1).
Figure 14.1: IBM’s Web Ease-of-Use Guidelines are written for online readers. The information is broken into segments marked by descriptive headings. Bulleted lists are used to emphasize important concepts and to facilitate scanning. www.ibm.com/easy
Additionally, information can be broken into segments and presented over several Web pages. This approach provides direct access to subcategories of information. For example, software installation instructions might be broken across two pages entitled "Installation" and "Getting Started." Users who only want installation information can access that information directly, and vice versa.
This practice, commonly referred to as chunking, provides Web users with more direct access to the information they are seeking, and has the added benefit of producing shorter Web documents. However, users who prefer to read information offline might want to have all the information related to a topic on a single page for easier printing and downloading. Accommodate these users by including a single-page printing version.