I see daily the short TL;DR in many article and I love it.
Is it okay to use it like a lol, FYI, btw,... or is it today too nerdy to use it on article for a wide audience?

3 Answers 3


If you're asking for straight-up usability, for sure you will have less trouble with users overall using a simple, common word like "Summary."

(Side note: offering a prominent summary at the beginning of a long article is indeed great UX. Example: Nielsen Norman Group does this with all of their articles. So, keep that up!)

That being said, if you know your audience is technical and younger, and you're looking to create an informal tone to your writing, then perhaps "TL;DR" is right for your use case. But this is more of branding consideration. There are plenty of resources online for choosing your brand voice.

You can test the user experience by showing your text to people you would want to target in your writing and see their feedback. Ask if there was anything they didn't understand, but don't mention "TL;DR" specifically; we want to see if they bring it up as an issue.


As I'm sure you know, it's internet slang, which means you'll be adding additional friction for your users who are not as tech savvy.

Certainly, there will be a percentage of your audience that's familiar with it's meaning, a percentage that is able to find out quickly (or has no interest in finding out), but also a percentage that will stare at their screen, confused, frustrated, and trying to figure out how they should be expected to know what this means. Based on your audience composition, you'll have to decide if this is an acceptable way to communicate with your users.

There's not really a right or wrong answer here, however, testing with a diverse cross section of your audience would be a good idea so you can observe user reactions firsthand.

  • Yes, I think too. I am 90% on technical sites. I think summary is today the best solution. But how can I tested? With JS observer?
    – Lovntola
    Jan 8, 2019 at 19:46
  • The bottom line is don't alienate your users. As maxathousand is saying you are adding friction/extra barriers. That's a fact. There is also a certain connotation tied to use of slang like that which could detract more than it adds to your article/point. I don't think you really need to "Test" this to discover that. Unless your article is about slang and short form, or you are trying extra hard to appeal to certain audiences. Just leave it out. Saying "Summary", or "in short" gets the point across.
    – Liv Mac
    Jan 8, 2019 at 20:16
  • @Lovntola Tim suggests a great way to test this in his last paragraph. Jan 8, 2019 at 20:52

Another option besides summary is ABSTRACT. This is a standard part of scientific journal articles, but can be used anywhere.

FWIW, I think of Summary & Abstract as both in the nature of a complete but short version including "beginning, middle, end" but far shorter than the original blog/article/whatever. I think of TL;DR as an extremely short item, often just including the end or conclusion with even less "how did we get there" than Summary & Abstract.

Abstract and Executive summary are both used for a summary at the start of an article. Summary by itself is more often used as the heading of a conclusion at the end of an article.

  • TL;DR is in the beginning of the article. Summary most in the end. Hmm... does anyone know the different benefit?
    – Lovntola
    Jan 9, 2019 at 6:10

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