This outstanding quote belongs to famous Anton Chekhov and dates back to 1889. But his message feels even more relevant today than 125 years ago: there is so much data and information available today that if you want for your voice to be heard, be brief and be to the point. And, for sure, give your readers something truly original and interesting to think about. And being brief while successfully delivering your message is a true sign of your talent.
But is there really a strong link between the reader’s attention and the amount of information provided? In other words, is the reader as focused when dealing with a large document as when reading a small one?
I found a plausible answer to this question in this study and it seems to be showing that the more words there are in a document (or on a webpage), the fewer of them the visitor reads. And this dependence is a rapidly declining power function of the number of words on a page (see figure below). In fact, for the page with just 100 words or so, the visitor already ignores 50% of them! Wow! By the time you reach 1000 words, a percentage of words read is down to under 25% or to just 250 words. This is on average, of course.
Therefore, write shorter articles if you want people to read them.