1.Sentence length in stories, effect absorption of the lines. Sentence length in ads affect sales. Sentence length in blogs, affect opt-ins and return visitors. Here’s why.
Readers have a limited amount of “working memory” to comprehend each sentence. Children or adults have the similar memory limitations. We all do. So most readers regardless of what they’re reading, prefer short sentences.
The “Optimal Recognition Point” ORP, is a specific point in each word that our eye seeks, for that word recognition. Our eye then moves to the next word. The eye movement is called a “saccade”. This process continues until our eye encounters the period. At this point, it assembles the words to form a meaning of the sentence.
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Since readers have a limited amount of working memory, and they must store the sentence contents until they reach the period, it creates a length limit. Inside the readers brain. They can’t help it. So what happens when we exceed the length limit?
Memory decay. The meaning of the sentence starts to diminish.
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2. Surveyed readers preferred 8 words in a sentence.
Here’s a surprise though. Most writers average 17 words per sentence. Here’s a good way to remember how expression size affects the reading experience. Imagine I give you a math problem (7 x 15) + (2 x 4 ) = what?
The way you read a math problem is similar to how a reader tries to find the point in a sentence. The meaning or the “point”, is what they’re after. No meaning can be concluded until the end of the sentence is reached.
That creates a potential problem, if we lose site of that fact. Because they don’t know where it’s going, they must store the whole line while they read. They must store the entire sentence in their “working memory” until they reach the period. A long sentence is like a long math problem. (8 x 13) + ((55 x 5) *18) + (79 – 26) = what? The longer the problem the more overwhelming it becomes to the brain. There’s actually a term for it, micro stress.
Link to the rest at JohnKrone.com and thanks to Elizabeth for the tip.