Letting go of the words – an overviewPresentation Transcript
Letting Go of the Words – An OverviewPart 1 IswaryaMurali 12th March, 2010
Importance of Writing Good Content Communicate with the Audience Focus on Essential Messages Designing Web Pages for Easy Use Tuning up your Sentences Effective Use of Illustrations Press Releases AGENDA
Importance of Writing Good Content “66% of visitors don’t rarely –if ever – return to a site once they’ve had a bad experience.” People come to websites for specific goals to (i) get tasks done (ii) to find answers They ‘skim’ through content to find information. Usability Tests Test early Test often Test small (iteratively)
List your audience and gather information about them List major characteristics – what is each visitor looking for? Difference in experience, emotions, technology, knowledge, values, demographics, etc. Create ‘personas’ and have them in mind while designing and writing content. Use sample scenarios Communicate with the Audience
Focus on Essential Messages
Start with the key point. Write in an Inverted Pyramid Style that matches readership
Main Point Supporting information History and background
Give the audience only what they need
Think from their point of view
What are the questions the audience will ask? – Address those
Cut down on unnecessary information
Make information flow logically
At the same time, don’t leave out what is essential to be clear
Focus on Essential Messages Make text easy on the eye Large paragraphs and blocks of text × Unnecessary technical jargon × Asterisk/Footnotes × Lists and bullets Market by giving useful information Web is essentially a “pull” technology, when compared to traditional marketing Take advantage of “marketing moments” – after the visitor is partially satisfied. For instance, after a really useful/impressive piece of information direct them what to do next Case study in Usability Testing shows that all participants preferred bullet points
Focus on Essential Messages Layer from an information page to more pages Layer from brief description to the full article Layer from part of the page to a short explanation Pathway Page: Scan, select and Move on Information Page: scan and get information Home Other information page – more details Other information page – more details
Designing Web Pages for Easy Use Design consistency across the site: Elements such as Company name, logo, Search box, segregation of header and text, navigation menus – should follow the same pattern across the site The entire site should have the same design and alignment (for instance, placement of images, header, menus, colors) Integrate content and design from the beginning Make various page elements ‘obvious’ Use templates for each ‘page type’
Designing Web Pages for Easy Use Working with specific page elements – Do’s:
Use active spacing for Titles, between lists and bullets, introductory paragraphs, etc. – to make it stand out.
Good contrast between text and background
Choose a Sans Serif font and the right font size (if possible let visitors adjust text size)
Choose colors wisely – taking into account cultural and other factors.
Use fluid layouts, with medium line lengths.
Working with specific page elements – Don’ts:
Avoid false bottoms/horizontal lines at the end of the page – test in different resolutions
Don’t let headings float – align them closer to the paragraph they ‘head’ than to the previous paragraph.
Avoid centered text, all upper case text, underlining and italicizing too much.
Avoid reverse text
Colors should never be the only indicator of a feature.
Designing Web Pages for Easy Use
Tuning up your Sentences
Talk to visitors; use “you” wherever possible
Be personal – use “I”(for blogs), “we/us” for referring to the organization.
Use imperative for instructions(better, in a list)
Being informal is okay – use short and straightforward sentences.
Keep paragraphs short – even 1 sentence paragraphs are acceptable
Give extra information its own space.
Avoid passive voice
Don’t mix up nouns and pronouns
Don’t use unnecessary text such as “Click here to know..” Underlined text is self explanatory as a link
Avoid ‘big words’ – always try to talk in the words of your user.
Don’t put action into the nouns; use verbs
Tuning up your Sentences
Types of pictures Picture of exact item Picture to illustrate process or concept Chart/graph/map ‘Mood’ picture Effective Use of Illustrations
Effective Use of Illustrations General guidelines Don’t distract the audience with an abstract picture Support, don’t hide content Differentiate content from ads Avoid blinking, rolling ads Don’t make people wait for Flash/animation Use animation only when absolutely necessary In pictures of people, show diversity
Break into sections with bold headings Use short paragraphs, lists, bullets, graphics Give relevant links to additional information Indicate persons to contact, email, etc. Press Releases