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Writing for the User Experience


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A LibUX webinar delivered on July 13, 2017. Includes knowing your readers, organizing your content, and writing with clarity.

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Writing for the User Experience

  1. 1. writing for the user experience Rebecca Blakiston @blakistonr #writing4ux #libUX 7-13-17
  2. 2. about me author of two practical guides for librarians: Usability Testing and Writing Effectively 2007 public services, reference, & instruction 2010 website product manager 2014 ux librarian 2016 lead for web design & ux
  3. 3. writing is all about the reader so how do people approach content on your website?
  4. 4. people are on your site for a specific reason to get a question answered to complete a task
  5. 5. people skim they are goal-motivated and task-driven
  6. 6. people are impatient they only stick around if it’s worth the time investment
  7. 7. how to write with such people in mind?
  8. 8. layer information identify what information is needed when
  9. 9. focus on key messages
  10. 10. make next steps obvious make next step(s) obvious
  11. 11. what is this about? what is most important? what can I even do here?
  12. 12. who is your primary audience? who is your primary audience?
  13. 13. what do you know about them? experience with library systems terminology they use other sites they use
  14. 14. what are their primary questions? what do they need to know? what do they want to do?
  15. 15. make it easy for people to find what they need
  16. 16. use headings prioritize organize facilitate skimming
  17. 17. try active verbs in headings
  18. 18. or gerunds
  19. 19. use bulleted lists for items/options
  20. 20. use numbered lists for steps start each step with an imperative verb
  21. 21. Your objective should always be to eliminate instructions entirely by making everything self-explanatory, or as close to it as possible. When instructions are absolutely necessary, cut them back to a bare minimum. but minimize instructions - Steve Krug “ ”
  22. 22. use tables for related content
  23. 23. love white space
  24. 24. use the power of parallelism it makes content easier to scan, read, and comprehend
  25. 25. make it easy on the eyes
  26. 26. avoid justification inconsistent spacing between words is harder to read (and a bit goofy)
  27. 27. left justify rag right left justify, rag right is best
  28. 28. avoid all caps All caps are harder to read. They work ok for some titles and headings, but not long ones.
  29. 29. avoid needless capitalization lowercase Sentence case Title Case ALL CAPS
  30. 30. avoid italics italics are harder to read careful with font choice and color, too
  31. 31. use one space after punctuation, not two
  32. 32. customize your wysiwyg • no underlining • no centering • no customizing font • no indenting • no inline styling • only H2 and H3
  33. 33. keep it simple and intuitive plain, conversational language short paragraphs & sentences only what’s necessary
  34. 34. Plain language is part of user- centered design. “ ” - Ginny Redish
  35. 35. write as a conversation “we’re…” “you’ll…”
  36. 36. be authentic be direct don’t be so serious write like you talk
  37. 37. passive active Customers must sign in to renew books. Sign in to renew books. Eligibility will be verified by the library. We’ll verify your eligibility. The Library Instruction Consultation Request Form may be used for requests. Request an instruction consultation. use active voice
  38. 38. keep paragraphs short sentences per paragraph: 3 3 1
  39. 39. words per sentence: 10 14 (6) 10 12 keep sentences short
  40. 40. Fragments? Totally cool.
  41. 41. remove the unnecessary Please note… It should be noted that... It is interesting to note that... We should point out that... You will find that...
  42. 42. make next steps obvious meaningful labels links & buttons clear navigation
  43. 43. try active verbs in links original link revised link Mentor applicants, please use this form. Apply to be a mentor. Use this link for registration system access. Sign in to register.
  44. 44. or meaningful nouns original link revised link The November newsletter is now available. The November newsletter is now available. Get books through express retrieval here. Get books through express retrieval.
  45. 45. make links look like links distinguish from the rest of the text
  46. 46. be friendly
  47. 47. but don’t overdo it
  48. 48. knowledgeable, but not preachy fun, but not silly simple, but not simplistic define your voice
  49. 49. Slack is approachable, friendly, and helpful.
  50. 50. SpringShare is fun, silly, and enthusiastic.
  51. 51. oversight workflows & standards training …and lots more develop a content strategy
  52. 52. oversight
  53. 53. creating a page updating a page deleting a page workflows for…
  54. 54. standards for… terminology formatting titles & headings voice & tone
  55. 55. standards workflows analytics writing for the web training for…
  56. 56. • audits • inventories • governance models • style guides • page tables • editorial oversight lots more • metadata oversight • SEO guidelines • editorial calendars • content modelling • content structuring • documentation
  57. 57. questions? @blakistonr