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Letting go of the words – an overview

Letting go of the words – an overview






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Letting go of the words – an overview Letting go of the words – an overview Presentation Transcript

  • Letting Go of the Words – An OverviewPart 1
    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
  • 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
    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)
    • Gender-neutral writing: you/plural/the/verb phrase
    • 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 
    ‘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
  • Thank you!