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Letting go of the words – an overview


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Letting go of the words – an overview

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