Week 2 – Chunking
Strategies – Online examples
Analysis by many people using font changes: 2008 NFL predictions (Fox Sports)
Breaking story into multiple pages: Great Performances (Time)
Q&A with bold text: Interview with Laura Bush and Cindy McCain (Newsweek)
Using subheads: Google’s St. Valentine’s Day massacre? (cnn.com)
Charts, links, bold text: Mother and child reunion (cnn.com)
Pictures, charts, subheads, related stories: Last best places (Star Tribune)
List of categorized links: Health and Wellness (Reader’s Digest)
List with bold text: 20 Ways to Lose Weight After the Holidays (Reader’s Digest)
Intro with detailed list: Top Ten Nutrition and Fitness Tips (Reader’s Digest)
Analysis of chunking: Interview with Web optimization expert Andy King (March 10, 2003)
How short is too short? How “chunked” is too chunked?
Ah, the paging versus scrolling issue. This is a complex topic with lots of variables at play. There are a number of studies out there, and some rule-of-thumb guidelines. (Usability expert Jakob) Nielsen has softened his “users don’t like to scroll” stance, as we’ve become used to some scrolling.
For longer texts (4 to 6 screens), some studies have shown that users read faster paging from screen to screen and more importantly find information faster paging, rather than scrolling one long document. However, a SURL study found that paging through short pages took significantly longer to read than a “full” or “scrolling” condition.
A screen-full of text seemed to perform best (the author estimates that the optimum page length is about 700 words). I’ve seen recommendations up to 2 to 3 screens for the length you want to make individual pages in a longer document.