What I’ve Been Reading:
- Lazy Eyes: How We Read on the Web by Michael Agger
- Eye-tracking Studies: More Than Meets the Eye by Anne Aula and Kerry Rodden
- Life on the Screen: Visual Literacy in Education by James Daly, and
- Questioning Video, Film, Advertising and Propaganda: Deconstructing Media Messages by James McKenzie
In this post, I’m going to reflect on a few questions that came up while I was reading Agger’s article on visual literacy. I will also look at a couple of interesting points that he brought up (if patience allows).
Short Sentence Fragments?Leaves the Reader Asking a Few Questions
In the article, we’re told that we should use short sentence fragments when writing online. But what are short sentence fragments? (English definitely wasn’t one of my stronger subjects back in school.)
According to this site, a sentence fragment is an incomplete sentence and because of this “incompleteness” leaves the reader asking a few questions.
Let me think of a sentence fragment to start this block of text with…
Got it. (Check above.)
I know it’s a sentence fragment because it triggers the question “What leaves the reader asking a few questions?”
It’s definitely harder than it looks. (There’s one right there.) Coming up with sentence fragments that is.
When Writing Online, What’s the Ideal Paragraph Length?
I don’t know. Is it five sentences? Is it six?
This is another question I was left asking after reading Agger’s article.
According to Gerry McGovern, a website content development company, the ideal paragraph length when writing online is about 45 words. So what does 45 words look like? Well, the opening paragraph to this post is 37. And, by the time I’ve finished writing this sentence, this paragraph will be a little over 45 words.
Isn’t It the Easiest to Read?
One thing I definitely remember from back when I was studying computer science is that Times New Roman is supposed to be the easiest font to read.
In the article, Agger suggests using a font that’s been designed for screen reading and he gives Verdana, Trebuchet and Georgia as examples.
So which one is it? What font should I be using?
The consensus seems to be that if you’re writing for the Web only then you should use a sans-serif font like Verdana or Trebuchet. And that if you’re writing something that is going to be eventually printed, then you should use a serif font like Times New Roman.
Once I’ve published this post, I’m going to change my WordPress theme to one that employs a sans-serif font.