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Chapter 9. Retrievability > Provide helpful entry points

Provide helpful entry points

Few things in complex technical information are more discouraging than large blocks of text, unbroken by headings, graphics, or other visual elements. User expectations also change as technology changes. With the pervasiveness of the Web, users are accustomed to jumping from site to site and from topic to topic to find what they want. Users are less tolerant of large blocks of text and more adapted to searching for only the topics that interest them and to reading small chunks of information.

To support scanning, break up long blocks of text and provide entry points such as headings, labels, and lists. Aim for three to five sentences per paragraph, but also remember that the ease of understanding depends on the content and length of the sentences, as well as the complexity of the sentence structure.


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