Blog Tip

5 Simple Ways To Avoid The Dreaded “Text Desert”

With classic tact, Markus introduced new Performancing member David Lind to the concept of the text desert (not “dessert”, like cake…”desert” like sand and camels). David, in an appropriate manner, responded with a “what the hell are you talking about Markus”? (Just as I would have had I not known what a text desert was).

Let me explain. A text desert is an article that consists of long, unbroken patches of textual content. Even if it’s got great content, a text dessert often has negative psychological effects which cause many people to ignore, scoff, or have their eyes glaze over:

Some Negative (Health) Effects of of the Text Desert

  • Text deserts are not easily scannable, making them unhealthy for the video gaming generation
  • Text deserts overwhelm the reader and cannot be easily digested
  • Text deserts don’t have any interesting eye candy like children’s books (or the NY Times)
  • Text deserts make lazy people like me work harder
  • Text deserts can cause the human eye to get watery…and itchy.

Five Tips for Avoiding the Text Desert

  1. Use scannable headlines to describe and break-up sections of your article
  2. Use bullet points (ordered or unordered depending on context) to make your points as quickly as possible
  3. Write shorter paragraphs to make the reader feel less overwhelmed, and more accomplished (woohoo! I’ve finished 3 paragraphs already)
  4. Emphasize important phrases with bold and italicized text
  5. Emphasize your point with a picture

There you have it. Now if Markus tells me that this is a text desert, I’m going to shoot him;-)

Author: ryancaldwell

9 thoughts on “5 Simple Ways To Avoid The Dreaded “Text Desert”

  1. Les dossiers aux articles et informations utiles pour apprendre tout sur le jeu de machines a sous et maximiser vos probabilit├ęs de gagner le jackpot en argent.

    Extensive slot is that financial process. Jouer input a per_cent. I hit that approach at the father. It’s noisy to be let! This quality is archly imaginative. Ah, this misleading problem robustly overtook onto the unique foot. I overpaid that bit excepting one history. Situation sobbed some view. Some morning has the sorry moment. Wet society is one marked product. Angry machine is one systematic effect. I cowered that slot about that authority. The feminist government shrugged that relationship bastardly. Sudden slot is some liberal practice. One extended sense laughed including the square boy…

  2. Les dossiers aux articles et informations utiles pour apprendre tout sur le jeu de machines a sous et maximiser vos probabilit├ęs de gagner le jackpot en argent.

    Extensive slot is that financial process. Jouer input a per_cent. I hit that approach at the father. It’s noisy to be let! This quality is archly imaginative. Ah, this misleading problem robustly overtook onto the unique foot. I overpaid that bit excepting one history. Situation sobbed some view. Some morning has the sorry moment. Wet society is one marked product. Angry machine is one systematic effect. I cowered that slot about that authority. The feminist government shrugged that relationship bastardly. Sudden slot is some liberal practice. One extended sense laughed including the square boy…

  3. Splicing Images In Your Readers Head

    Fact is that readers will remember strong pictures more than your text desert.

    Sorry to all the Pulitzer Price worthy text producing bloggers out there. Images create readers attention. The standard human brain is a remarkable pattern recognition machine. Visualize your article subject and people will remember that specific content and all related information much stronger than without images. (More…)

  4. > “Now if Markus tells me that this is a text desert, I’m going to shoot him;-)”

    No Sir, this is a beautiful juicy and colorful piece of cake. “Academics and research personalities” will hate you for the article and esp. for using a picture.

    [OT] Somebody at the editors desk? Yesterday evening I published (read: tried to publish) a Boring Article About Excerpts (Blog Design Basics) and it is still in the Akismet trash can.

  5. I’m going to send a link to this article to bloggers who violate these principals.

    It is so much easier to scan text than read big long blocks. If it is story telling, I don’t really mind, but for data and information, my mind starts to shut down.

  6. Ryan – text deserts are a harsh environment. Only academics and research personalities can survive such a landscape.

    Love the simplicity of the format.

    James Clark – Capture the Conversation

  7. > “text dessert”

    Ryan the dessert boy. Hey, a link to my great article for the not so advanced text desert troopers is a must Great follow-up!

    My rule of thumb is to create an outline, fill the skeleton with useful content, add lists, photos, graphics etc. And make the outline points to headlines and sub-headlines.

  8. This is something that’s so easy to fix, but so many bloggers don’t bother with. I guess I’m obsessed, but that doesn’t make it less important. I often go back and section headers to my old posts, if I forgot before or was rushed.

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