11 Characters Make The Difference

| Comments

Jakob Nielsen has an awesome post about the importance of the first 2 words of a link. He sets the cutoff at eleven characters.

Users typically see about 2 words for most list items; they’ll see a little more if the lead words are short, and only the first word if they’re long. Of course, people don’t see exactly 11 characters every time, but we picked this number to ensure uniformity across the sites we tested.

This prompted me to write a (bad) greasemonkey script that shows only the first 11 characters of hyperlinks.

After I installed it, I visited a few blogs to see how post titles looked.

I found that “good” titles tended to have exotic or unique words, and make you want to click:

  • “Ready, Aim.”
  • “Best Mac Ev”
  • “Maps of tun”

Bad headlines tend to have boring or null words, and feel as if they’ve been cut short:

  • “Build Your”
  • “Why it’s wi”
  • “A Reminder”

Give the script a shot, and see if you have a similar experience.

(And to save you the trouble, the first 11 characters of this post’s title are “11 Characte”. Riveting.)

blog comments powered by Disqus