I read a lot of content on the web, but I don’t enjoy reading much of it. I once read that readers tend to only read one-fifth of any given webpage. I don’t blame them. Some of those pages look like they could take hours to decode.

I’d prefer not to extend my suffering to you.

Short

Communicate with as few words as possible.

The fewest that forms a few, is three. Think in threes.

Three is an arbitrary guide. The aim is to keep things short. Shortness makes content easier to consume and navigate. It also helps keep things on-point.

Shortness avoids having the reader maintain a lot of context in their head. A reader must hold that context in their mind until the full idea has been consumed. The longer the point, the longer the reader must maintain focus.

If people are only going to read a fifth of your page, why not only write the fifth they would read?

Sweet

Get to the point. Remove everything but the point. Just give me the nectar.

Simple

Vacuous villains venerate vexing verbiage.

The point is to get across your point, not pontificate. Simple words. Simple sentences. Simple paragraphs. Simple points. If it’s not simple, split it. Shave away the irrelevant. Stow it for some other time.

Complex ideas can be composed from components. Introduce the pieces of a point in short and simple sentences, then combine them. Any idea of any complexity can be conveyed by parts.

Write for coffee deprived cavemen.

Structured

There’s something daunting about crossing a vast ocean. I’d rather make a series of short hops between islands.

Any sea of paragraphs ought to be grouped into logical blocks and labelled. Sometimes, it’s even appropriate to give a single sentence a heading. Any large collection of paragraphs can be made less scary by the introduction of nice big friendly headings. Somehow, the introduction of big words makes the page seem smaller.

By giving a group of paragraphs a heading, you are naming the collection of ideas they convey. It aids memorization to be able to associate ideas with a name or image. It also helps people refer to previous ideas and to find them again later.

Break documents into small labelled chunks.