From the Financial Express comes this interesting data point:

The average time spent on the internet is on a rise. From 58 minutes on weekdays in the Indian Readership Survey (which tracks media consumption) July-December 2003, it increased to 63 in IRS July-December 2005.

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While 63 minutes sounds like a lot, email and instant messaging probably take up the lions share of the time.

What is left is very little time and attention, possibly as low as 10 minutes. All content creators (including blogs) are essentially competing for this small slice of time before the Internet user “switches off” and returns to her real life.

This leads to the following rules for creating web content:

1. Be pithy! – No one has time to read/watch/listen to long anything any more.

2. Keep it simple – Busy pages are a turn off for Internet users, as surely as a long queue is a turn off for a traveller or a shopper.

3. Dont make the user register for free content – “Free registration” is not really free because it makes the user give up his most precious asset – time!

4. Be easy on the eye – Use easy to read fonts and pleasing color schemes – make sure your ads comply to the same guidelines.

5. Summarize, organize and itemize – Make your content easy to skim through, because thats all you are going to get anyhow.

I am sure many of these rules are fairly obvious – but I am continually amazed by the number of websites that dont get it.