Faster reading VS. More pleasant reading?

A new study asked people about their reading preferences in terms of length of the lines, coming to conclusion that people prefer to read shorter lines (45 to 72 characters per line), presented, for example, in columns, rather than long lines (around 100 characters). The typical answer was – the shorter lines, because they are quicker to read.

However, when tested, the study shows that people actually read the longer lines quicker than shorted lines.

This created a dilemma for marketers in the sense whether it is better to create messages that will be more “liked” (e.g., New Yorks Times type of text), or message that will be easier and faster to read, considering that message needs be both attention getting and easy and fast to process. What to do?

Dyson, M.C. (2004). “How Physical Text Layout Affects Reading from Screen.” Behavior & Information Technology, 23(6), 377-393.

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