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I am building a home page for one of our products and researching how to integrate testimonial section. In my first prototype, I have 3 sentences which makes 6 lines on a tablet.

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My thought is that we could build immediate rapport by including a meaningful testimonial.

But my concern is that if the text is too long, will they bother to read it?

And even if they do not read it, does it really matter? Or maybe some users will glance at it, scroll feeling good that there are good things said about it. But jump ahead to other times.


it's a rough proof of concept. Not asking for comments about the excellent photoshop job ;)

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are those teeth? I'm outta that website… On a serious note, if the page looks like a wall of text, with no emphasized words or phrases that could interest the reader, it's unlikely to be fully read. –  user1306322 Feb 6 at 3:51
    
@user1306322, the company makes replacement teeth. I have certain aesthetic guidelines I have to design in and they really like teeth floating around lol. –  JGallardo Feb 6 at 8:12
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4 Answers

up vote 6 down vote accepted

It's a common misconception that web site visitors read the text that they are presented with. Users scan text to find the part of the text or keyword they are actually looking for (if this page isn't their end result). So to find the right answer to your question, we need to turn our head to User Experience Experts Jakob Nielsen and Donald Norman and their research on How Little Do Users Read?:

Summary: On the average Web page, users have time to read at most 28% of the words during an average visit; 20% is more likely.

We've known since our first studies of how users read on the Web that they typically don't read very much. Scanning text is an extremely common behavior for higher-literacy users; our recent eyetracking studies further validate this finding.

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This looks like an excellent opportunity for teaser text.

When scanning down a page for relevant information, the keywords I would be looking for won't be in the solution to the problem presented by the testimonial. If I was having a teeth grinding problem, a testimonial about someone else experiencing the teeth grinding will grab my attention.

Once you have my attention, I will not only be willing to read the text, but even perform simple interaction. This is where a "read more" link comes in.

I thought there was no hope for me: I ground all my teeth down to the gum line. Every time I would get fillings, I would grind the fillings gone in just a few days. It was a miracle the day my doctors discussed with me... (read more)

Now your taking up less space, and the user is more engaged with your website. Make the (read more) link simply expand the text, don't punish the user by taking them to another page or website.

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Its not just website users. Look to any executive report, gap analysis, an analysts report on a policy decision, etc... You'll find a very simple pattern that makes a lot of sense... bullet points and summary, if the 20% Benny mentions catches the readers attention, they may be likely to read a little more of the details. This is a tricky concept to translate to 'testimonials'... this is why you tend to see ratings metrics (stars, points, etc...) above a testimonial. Snippet -> Detail. Every reader has different preferences when it comes to where their attention goes.

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Most users will not read anything more than 2-3 lines and even then they will be looking for some specific keywords. If someone is really interested in buying what you want to sell then they can go farther than 3 line testimonial.

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