Web reading may come with learning technology by trial and error, displayed at 50% of viewport width.
February 2020 by Terry Verduin


With Web reading
an adult can work
one-on-one with a child
to animate learning
and create memories.

A mastery of Web reading, digital learning tools and technology is critical to efficiency in the information age, but time constraints have led to an F reading pattern.

What is the Web?

The Web is a common name for the World Wide Web. It is the most efficient resource of the Information Age. It consists of pages on the Internet accessed by browsers.

Regifting? On August 6, 1991, inventor Sir Tim Berners-Lee invited collaboration with his World Wide Web concept. Who would have guessed how many doors this humble start would open for human interaction?

W3C Standards? Sir Tim Berners-Lee continues to guide these Web specifications, guidelines and tools. He is a director of the World Wide Web Foundation, which coordinate efforts to further Web benefits for humanity.

The Shift? The Web offers information and interactivity through text, audio, video, graphics files and links to hot spots. Readers may not be able to read a Web page line-to-line or top-to-bottom. They cruise with navigation bars.

Does the Web Matter?

Contemplate Life Ride? The Web is the first place most of the world's readers look for connections, information and news. People are interested in the Web and connections with other Web users.

New Look? This dynamic online marketplace generates growth, change and rebirth. It presents a call to adopt recent technology. Internet servers, connected to the Web, keep users current with the rapidly changing world.

Top Things Off? Reading for understanding is a complex activity. Web readers quickly scan, searching for key words while scrolling through content. The efficiencies of Web reading can become addictive or toxic.

On the Edge? Technology adds efficiency to information searches. The Web is a tool for growth and progress in the Information Age. Pewinternet.org reported “digital readiness gaps remain in some communities”.

Digital Learning Tools?

Showstopper? Some individuals resist learning technology. It is advancing at a rapid pace, causing new applications quickly to become obsolete. In remote areas, the necessary services for connectivity may be unavailable.

Blown Away? New users should start with tools or technology of specific interest. What to learn and with what equipment should be determined by current abilities, preferences, equipment and goals.

In the Bag? It is impossible to keep up with all of the aspects of technology. From site appearance to server-side programming or from multimedia sound to visual effects requires huge leaps. Technology continues to change.

Match Play? Simply keeping up with the rapidly-changing jargon of technology requires great effort. Tools to learn technology are readily available online and in local schools or libraries. Many courses are free.

Reading vs Scanning?

On the Fly Fix? Scanning and scrolling are useful. They may eliminate hypotheses to find the right answers for known questions. Technology serves as an essential operating system for readers, writers and educators.

Spotlight? Time constraints have introduced a scanning pattern into the online speed reading of websites, social media and advertising. Content has mere seconds to resonate.

Hue did it? Scanning gets diverted by other links. The average researcher spends less than 30 seconds on a site. Metrics typically stop at one hour. Approximately 2-3% of visitors spend an hour or more on a website.

Social Studies? Visitors scan a page in a visual hierarchy. They check headlines at the top of the page, travel down the page for highlights, then finish with a quick view of bold text or sub-headlines in the middle.

Information Age Problems

On Demand? It is not too late to join the Information Age revolution. Links and videos appear alongside words, allowing readers to touch, push, scroll, click and jump through text for information.

Enable Understanding? Attentiveness is required for study, thinking, memorizing and learning. Expansive scrutiny draws inferences, clarifies meanings and ensures absorption. Intensive readers interact with content.

Redux? Distracted scanning may diminish cognitive functions. It should not be allowed to dominate reading, learning, thinking or remembering. Onlinecolleg.org discusses 15 Big Ways the Internet is Changing our Brain.

The Next Act? Maryanne Wolf, a Tufts University author and neurology and cognition scientist studied the effects of online speed scanning on text comprehension. She found: “Speeding up online reading may have costs.”


Organic Matter? Surfers fixate on action. They share popular content. Status accrues with taking part in huge numbers. Attention attracts increasingly greater attention. Quality of content is particularly important.

Still Life? Modern readers seek paragraph breaks. The first two paragraphs must contain the most important information. Visitors read more of the first paragraph than the second. Third words are read less than the first two.

Turn up the Heat? Content must be bold. Revelations with a touch of irreverence and humor may catch attention. Targeting audience reading habits and accommodating their speed reading needs may aid subject mastery.

Sticking Points? Good titles and headings guide readers. SEO studies show popular content is lengthy, informative and consumable. However, the paragraphs are short, to the point and present concepts in everyday language.

Time Constraints?

Custom Content? Re-purposed print content may slow surfing speed. Key points must be highlighted with bold type, bullets or lists for rapid skimming. Reading word-by-word is rare. Research often stops short of the website.

Culled Snippets? A snippet is a short summary of the content of a website presented in search results. These describe the information contained on each web page. These quick answers guide initial inspections.

Yottabyte? Mobile devices call for brevity and minimization. Non-mobile-friendly sites rank poorly, if at all, by search engines. Google, Bing and others offer tools to evaluate and improve speed performance. Many are free.

Shop Guy? Browsers stop scripts that are voluminous in content or overly frequent and repetitious in nature. Their alerts drive away present and future traffic. Lengthy texts and oversized images get rejected across the Web.

F Reading Pattern

Peak Form? Users' eyes track away from blocks of text. They scan the side of the screen, pausing for brief lines at a time, rather than reading from beginning to end. Colors, trim and images may direct or hold attention.

Current Affairs? This pattern shows the importance of writing for the Web. Information transfers fail when traffic clicks away, closes the page or stops navigating. Writers must be aware of their target readers' preferences.

Lunar Cycle? Nielsen Norman Group eye-tracking studies show people read most of the first line, skim the left margin to view a partial line, then start moving away in an F-shaped pattern.

Major League? Children must develop a slower mode of text study for assimilation. Adults can ensure mastery of technology will not stunt development of focused reading skills for research, study or perception.