UX Word of the Day: Chunking

Whenever you go to a baseball stadium or other sports arena, do you ever complain because the seats are broken up into sections?

Sections make it easier and faster to find your seats. Imagine having to carry your hot dog and beer past 400 people who are already sitting in their seats.

Excuse me. Pardon me. Excuse me. Oops, sorry about that! Times 100.

How exhausting. Luckily, there’s a better way.

Content Chunking

Breaking up text into small chunks to improve readability and decrease reader fatigue.

Here are my best tricks for chunking content:

Headings

First, write them. I believe good web content should be broken up by a heading every 2-3 or so paragraphs. It’s hard to read 16 paragraphs in a row. Headings help give our eyes a break.

I also believe headings should be packed with useful information. Think of a heading like a summary or thesis for the following paragraphs. Or in the case of this blog post, I’m using headings like bullet points.

Cool trick: headings make it possible to more easily skim an article. I’d much rather someone read just my headings than nothing at all.

Bullet Points

Whenever you’re presenting 2 or more ideas, put them in a bullet point list rather than a sentence.

Paragraph Length

Keep paragraphs short. Like 1-3 sentences short. Especially on mobile devices, too many sentences in a row causes reader fatigue (eye strain).

Icons + Graphics

I love it when websites separate blocks of content with graphics.

  • It reduces reader fatigue
  • It helps readers find information again (memory recall)

Here’s a great example of breaking up content with graphics:

content chunking with images

Have something to add or edit? Tweet me @KristineRemer.

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Author: Kristine Remer

Kristine Remer is an independent UX researcher & strategist in Minneapolis. Connect @ https://twitter.com/kristineremer