MSVU Social Media Course Blog

Just another weblog

Our ever-shrinking attention spans

The blog I am fallowing is called Ascentum.  It is a blog that is written by 10 writers which are from the core team at the Ascentum organization. The organization is what I would consider a Public Relations firm but they do not use those specific words.  

I was interested in the most recent blog named, How little do web users actually read? It was written by Ellis Westwood, a team member at Ascentum. She was reacting to comments made by Jakob Nielsen who she considers a “web usability guru”. He believes that people only reads 28% of a web pages content. This is very fascinating because I trust that if they only read 28%, then they are probably only absorbing half of that. She gives some ways of remediating the reader’s small attention span which include; simple text, knowing your medium and making the webpage an experience to view by using well thought out animation, video and audio. What I found personally interesting is that I only scan web pages but I thought it was just my short attention span and the majority of the public would be more thorough readers. I guess I’m normal in that regard.



May 16, 2009 - Posted by | Uncategorized


  1. Wow, 28%. After reading your comment, I found this stat to be very interesting. It is true, although we may not realize it, most of us do skim webpages. This creates an interesting dynamic that may not exist in other mediums. Designers must be much more conscience of the text, pictures, and layout of a page if they want to make the most of a page and get the most information out there.

    This brings you to think, what is essential, a priority and what can wait. If you want to make sure the internet viewers gets the essential, but also stays involved in your page, the creators have an extra task at hand. But it also makes you wonder, what information the viewer will be missing by only skimming 28% of a webpage?

    Comment by eskimeau | May 16, 2009 | Reply

  2. So I’m sitting here reading your post, or should I say scanning your post – until I got to the 28% part. It seems a little hard to believe that as web users we don’t even read a third of the content we look at on here every day, but in reality, I am part of that statistic. Thanks for the reminder to slow down and actually read!

    Comment by sarahjanemac | May 18, 2009 | Reply

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