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⏰Would page *read time* be helpful for you in Confluence?

Edited
droo Atlassian Team Feb 24, 2020

👋Hi there, I'm a designer on Confluence and would love to hear your opinion about read time. (Imagine, for example, something like "6 minute read" shown below a page title).

Would you find it helpful to know about how big a page is or how long it'll take to read?

When would you find this helpful? (Eg. When a page has just been published? When you're comparing different pages? When you're scrolling through blogs? When a page has been shared with you?)

🙏

7 comments

Yes. I use Pocket all the time, and it indicates the length of how long it predicts it will take a page to be read. If it's short, I will probably read it now. If it's long, I'll snooze the tab/save to Pocket or somehow remind myself to read long content later.

It's helpful when I first encounter the content, so as soon as the page loads, at the top, under the title, along with author, it'll give me an indicative guide. Would also be helpful in email notifications, so when page is published/I'm mentioned in a comment on a page I am not watching

Like droo likes this

No. Super-unhelpful for me. I maintain a technical manual with pages that vary between quick process guides (200-300 words) and in-depth analysis (15,000-30,000 words). My Google analytics show that no-one ever reads the in-depth pages from end to end - instead, even for 30,000 word pages they spend on average 3-5 minutes, suggesting that they are skimming the table of contents to identify the bit that's important for them. 

Like # people like this

@droo  On paper this sound like a great idea, but this won't work for all users.

For example, if I'm writing a blog on Confluence, features like this are good to have. But if I'm writing KB or product documentation this will have no use. Because, only casual readers of casual content like blog post are interested beforehand how much time certain read will take. Not the KB readers.

"Medium - https://medium.com " has this feature and I only take a glance at 'time to read' if I'm reading some theoretical articles about random things which might help me someday but not immediately helpful. But when I'm reading a post which came to me via google search (and is immediately helpful and needed), I never pay attention to 'time to read'.

Screenshot 2020-02-25 at 2.37.28 PM.png

 

But if you find lots of people interesting in this, make sure you implement in it in non intrusive way just like in image above.

 

P.S. Create a discussion type post for such recommendations, not question. :-)

Like # people like this

Hi @droo 

It depends where it will be used and whether it can be turned on or off for documents, given different pages of importance. A KB post versus a process page. I wouldn't want a user put off reading a process page because it says 10 min read. 

@RPT Admin You mentioned Google Analytics, do you have this on your confluence pages? if so, is it possible to have it on a Confluence page on the cloud? We have our technical manual or user guide for our software on the Customer Portal and are very keen to know who is reading it, how long they are reading it, what pages they are reading? 

Like droo likes this

We use Google Analytics in Confluence. It's a free plugin for Confluence Cloud. Don't expect the analytics to be as useful as you would get from a regular website because Atlassian limits the amount of data available to Google. But you can track page views and durations, amongst other things.  

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Thanks @RPT Admin - I'll check that out. 

I'm also in the "No" camp for this feature, here's why:

  • Read time is based on assumptions about the average reading speed of an average adult -- are those assumptions inclusive?  We serve a large, diverse population who read at many different speeds. Some are using screen readers, some have cognitive disabilities, some read English as their second or third language, some are in stressful situations. In short, read time varies and we're working hard to be an inclusive organization. Features like this are not ones we would want to have on our pages. At the very least we'd really want to be able to opt-out.
  • +1 on the comments about technical content being different than blog content. The way people read knowledge base articles such as procedures is very different than "thought pieces" about leadership on a company blog. Maybe just bring this feature to blog posts?
Like # people like this

I would certainly find this useful as an optional macro that you can add to the top of a page. Being able to provide a rough guide as to how much time you expect someone to invest in your content helps to manage expectations and certainly from an agile perspective, helps the author keep documentation within the bounds of necessary and sufficient.

Like droo likes this

Hi @droo

I think this would be really useful for my team... it actually came in as a configuration request! I am attempting to build a macro for this in-house, but have been unsuccessful. I would love to be able to integrate this in our Confluence. 

I know this post is from 2020, so is there any update on this being in the works or not?

Hi there, 

I connected a couple coworkers and one was able to write the code for our server-based Confluence! Sharing if others find it useful:

## Macro title: timeToRead
## Macro has a body: N
## Body processing: No macro body
## Output: String
##
## Developed by: First Name Last Name
## Enhanced by: First Name Last Name
## Date created: 05/18/2022
## @noparams

## This is the Default Read Words Per Minute as used by Confluence
#set($wpm = 265)

#set($wordcount = 0)
#set($stuff = $content.getBodyAsString().replaceAll("\S+","~"))
#set($stuffarray = $stuff.split("~"))

## I can't believe I have to iterate this way - why can't I get the array size reliably?
#foreach ($bar in $stuffarray)
#set($wordcount = $wordcount + 1)
#end

#set($timeToRead=$generalUtil.convertToInteger($wordcount) / $generalUtil.convertToInteger($wpm) )
#if($timeToRead < 1)
#set($timeToReadString = "Less than a minute")
#else
#set($timeToReadString = $generalUtil.convertToString($timeToRead) + " minutes")
#end
<div class="page-metadata">Read Time: $!timeToReadString</div>

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