All About Website Usability Blog – Holly Phillips


Writing for the web
February 8, 2010, 4:43 am
Filed under: Content, scent, usability basics

In usability it’s tempting to focus on navigation, look&feel, search, and other elements of the interface and ignore the content.  But in the end, the content is really what matters.  We have been conducting a quarterly website satisfaction survey for years now, and “content” is always one of the top three dissatisfiers for our customers.  Missing content, confusing content, poorly-written content, mis-categorized content, marketing fluff disguised as real content…the list is very long.

That’s why I was excited to see this great article about improving content on the web by Shay Howe:  Writing for the Web:  The Right Strategy.  It’s worth taking a quick peek at.  Nothing earthshattering, just some good solid principles to follow when writing for the web.  I particularly like his bullets about “writing user-friendly content”:

  • Give users a summary
  • Get to the point quickly
  • Use small sentences
  • Limit one thought per paragraph
  • Use bullet points
  • Use sub headings
  • Do not over use exclamations!!!
  • Drive emphasis with repetition
  • Drop unnecessary adjectives
  • Use details, be specific
  • Use hyperlinks
  • Use a personal tone
  • Be unique
  • Escape content overload

He also advocates judicious use of fonts, colors, and sizes — things we’ve definitely seen in our research that help focus the customer on what you want him to focus on.

All in all a good reminder that even the best IA and UI’s will fail if not supported by appropriate, good content.

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