How can you maximize the chance that your messaging is read, understood, and retained by your audience? In a nutshell, put it in print.
These days, most of us use screens for information gathering. Blog posts (such as this one!), news reports, texts, tweets, status updates—they all appear on the various screens we stare at through the course of a day. If you look carefully at those media, however, you’ll notice that they’re all short in form and tend to be structured in brief “chunks.” (Notice the short paragraphs in this post?) There’s a reason for that: those characteristics make onscreen reading easier.
Studies show that we respond differently to text on screens than to text on paper, and that these responses are subsconscious—maybe even “hard-wired” into our brains—and not simply a matter of age-based curmudgeonliness. In a recent post titled “The Reading Brain in the Digital Age: The Science of Paper versus Screens” on the Scientific American website, Ferris Jabr highlights recent research in information science, neuroscience, psychology, computer science, and other fields on how people process information they read on paper versus how they process information they read onscreen. He points out that “such navigational differences may subtly inhibit reading comprehension,” adding that “compared with paper, screens may also drain more of our mental resources while we are reading and make it a little harder to remember what we read when we are done.” Although not all scientists are in agreement on this subject, most studies indicate that people retain paper-based information better than what they read onscreen.
Although its “chunked” text helps makes onscreen text easier to parse, its lack of physical “landmarks” makes overall comprehension more difficult. How many times have you come across a long article posted online somewhere and printed it out to read it, because you felt that you wouldn’t understand or remember the content if you read it onscreen? Being able to flip back and forth between pages, hold a physical item that changes appearance as you move through it (early in a book or magazine there are more pages on the right, and as you near the end you see your progress in a stack of pages on the left), and refer to the printed item’s topography to find information in it are all print features that onscreen media lack.
Sure, onscreen media has its uses. It’s quick, often inexpensive, and easy to distribute. Sometimes it’s perfect for conveying certain types of information. But if you want to give your readers a deep understanding of a topic or message, your best bet may be to print it on paper.
That’s where Mamu Media comes in. In previous posts, I’ve discussed the many benefits of print media—and magazinesin particular—over onscreen media as a messaging medium. In those posts, I’ve highlighted the marketing aspects of this choice. But now I can point to science to make my case, too!
If you want your readers to engage fully with your messaging and remember it, put it in a medium that’s easy for them to navigate. That’s why longer, information-packed articles are so effective when presented in our magazine. Give us a call today, and let’s talk about how to make magazines—and science!—work for your organization.