Insights on how to design and write websites for people who like to read, and encourage them to spend more time on it. By Kevin Flintoff
People who genuinely like reading are a dying breed. Of course most of us will read a great deal on a daily basis – whether we’re reading the sell-by date on our milk carton or the news via a website. However fewer of us than ever before it seems, are likely to just sit down with a good book and read through it. Rather, we tend to assume that reading will be ‘boring’ or that we don’t have time or enough energy, and so we watch TV instead.
There are still people out there though who enjoy reading as a hobby, and this is usually a particular type of introverted personality. These readers will often enjoy websites in an entirely different way, but are great visitors to have as they’ll probably stick around to take in more of your site.
Here we will look at how to create a site for people who like to read, and elevate your content in the process.
Before you begin designing a website for this group, you should first try and understand them. Often people who read a lot are introverted but highly intelligent. They enjoy spending time in their own heads, and they are well educated and very knowledgeable as a result.
Such people don’t like being talked down to when they read – as they will have large vocabularies and a lot of knowledge it’s particularly frustrating for them to read poorly-constructed text. If you want to attract people who are going to read your site properly and then engage you in discussion at the end of your blogs, then spend time writing your posts and articles well, and providing lots of interesting facts and information as well as exploring unique angles of your own.
As readers tend to be introverted, that means that they have a high level of physiological arousal as default. That’s why introverts are the way they are – they’re more easily ‘excited’ by quieter stimuli so they have less desire to expose themselves to loud noises and busy parties.
Your site should take this into account then, and your layout should be one that’s quieter and more muted. Think of a library, a quiet coffee shop, or a home study. These are the kinds of places we like to read, and the kind of environments that are conducive to spending time in our own head. Use browns and try to give your site a touch of class and culture. You can tie themes of travel, culture, coffee, teaching, science, technology, education and knowledge into your layout and all of this will help inform visitors that this is a place they can come to read and explore a range of information.
Of course if you want your site to be conducive to long periods of reading, you should also ensure that it is easy and pleasant to read. This means using a clear font and a large size that will make your page comfortable to stay on.
All this will help to lull your visitors into a state of more relaxation where they can kick back and just enjoy reading your site. If you then deliver some high quality content, you should find your bounce rate decreases and you stimulate some interesting debate.