RE: The humbling reality of writing multi-page articles

Subject: RE: The humbling reality of writing multi-page articles
From: Michele Marques <msmarques -at- rogers -dot- com>
To: "TECHWR-L" <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com>
Date: Wed, 11 Sep 2002 07:33:51 -0400

Darren Barefoot writes:

However, in some usability book
somewhere I read that it was good practice not to permit people to
scroll more than a couple of "screens" past their position at the top of
the page.

I believe that this is for one of two reasons:

(1) Your reader might not notice that there is a need to scroll... in which case you want everything (or at least everything important) to fit on one screen. In this case, you would want smaller chunks. Or design your page/article so that people don't think they got to the end early... yes they can always look at the scroll bar, but there are sometimes other clues that people use to tell they've reached the bottom. This probably isn't an issue in an article but more in a front page or index type page - for example if the page is divided into roughly screen-sized areas, users might not realize there is anything below the first screen.

(2) Many people on the web don't want to sit around reading page after page. In this case having a "next" button is just as bad as scrolling ... instead you would want to break your article into logical smaller chunks and set up some form of hypertext navigation - so that people can get to the specific type of information they want right away.

- Michele Marques
msmarques -at- rogers -dot- com

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