I still say: This… …and not this
A MONTH AGO, I posted some thoughts about jumps, making a point about not jumping at the end of a paragraph. My thinking is that jumping at the end of a paragraph invites readers to stop reading, never going to the jumped part of the story.
I’ve reposted that hint following this one.
Randy Keck, publisher at The Community News in Aledo, TX, disagrees. Says he: “I really enjoy your blog and hints. I often struggle with design issues and your wisdom and insights are valued. I do want to present another viewpoint on jumps. Several years ago I attended one of your seminars and, as a result, eliminated jumps. Some years later an editor convinced me they were sometimes necessary. When we use them, I have always insisted that they come at the end of a paragraph. If we are designing for readers, I can tell you as a reader that there is nothing more irritating than having to locate the jump mid-word. I think if the content is not compelling enough to keep the reader, its inclusion might need to be reconsidered.” I agree. Many design elements, such as headlines, pullouts and infoboxes, serve as points of entry. But jumps, unfortunately, are a point of exit. They always take readers off the page to another page—if the reader will go. If the story is well-written, we increase the odds that readers will go to the jump. If not, good luck! And I believe that’s Randy’s point, too. But I still think that placing the jump at the end of a paragraph increases the odds that readers will decide the story just isn’t that compelling after all. And here are a couple of other points to keep in mind: 1. Many readers who see that a story jumps will only read down to the paragraph above the one that jumps. 2. Many readers dislike jumps so much that they will not even begin to read the story. More on that in next week’s Henninger Helpful Hint.