Maria Kuhn: April 22, 2017

People Don't Read, They Scan

“Chunking” is the process of breaking up content into simple, easy to review pieces (or “chunks”). Presenting content in chunks makes scanning easier for users and can improve their ability to comprehend and remember. Human short-term memory is limited, so if you want your users to retain more, pack information into meaningful chunks.

Text Content

Break text content down into easily digestible sections that make no more than 2 main points – ideally, it should just be one. Mark each of these sections with a descriptive heading. Use numbers or bullet points for lists.

Sample

  • Fruit
    • Apples
    • Oranges
    • Peaches
  • Vegetables
    • Carrots
    • Green Beans
    • Peas

Multimedia Content

multimedia content The key to effectively chunking multimedia content (text as well as images, graphics, videos, and other elements) is to keep related items close together and aligned. Using background colors, horizontal rules, and white space can help users visually distinguish between what’s related and what isn’t.

Read It Aloud

When you sit and read your content silently, it will often appear as though it flows naturally to you – even if it doesn’t to others. Once you’ve chunked your content, read it aloud and pretend you’re explaining it to a friend. Does it feel like it flows? If not, change it until it does.