There is no doubt that visual presentation of your website is very important. The layout, the colors, the visuals and icons should be tied up with your visual identity.
But equally important is how your copy is presented as well as the tone and voice of your website writing.
A successful copy is the one that your users read, right? What’s the point of crafting the perfect text if the users don’t read it?
Users scan, they don’t read.
That’s right, users don’t read everything you put on the web page. Actually, they only read 20% on average. Users read in an F-pattern and look for specific words and terminology. They also tend to read text which is clearly organized and short.
Making users read online content
You already know now that users will read approximately 20% of all the text you put on a web page so you must ensure that this small portion counts.
As a website owner, designer or copywriter you should “trick” your users to read your thoughts. Here are some tips on how to do it.
Use short sentences
Get rid of long compound sentences. Don’t make users read your long thoughts because you push their short term memory to the limits. If you can say the same thing with less number of words, do it.
Source - Screenshot from Mozilla
Put important information above the fold
Users do scroll but it doesn’t mean they will read. Put the most important information above the fold because this is the place where is most likely to be read. Short and right to the point headlines can give the info you want users to read and remember.
Everything important should be on the left
Prioritize your content and put everything that counts on the left. In a recent study, it was determined that 80% of the fixations on webpages is on the left half of the page.
Source - Screenshot from Oculus
Add bullet points
Instead of using long paragraphs explaining something, think about saying the same thoughts with less words. Use bullet points to organize the content in short and concise way.
Source - Screenshot from Digital Ocean
Have a clear hierarchy
Clear organization wins. Bold and big headline grab the attention of the user. Use short subheadings to tell more and use bold for the words you want users to notice.
Use icons whenever is appropriate
Icons are a great way to say more with less. Add icons to convey more meaning and/or put accent to a particular section. Good icon designer can tell a story in a single icon so use that. If you need to explain data, try using infographics or diagrams with less text content.
Source - Screenshot from Alexander Cafa @Dribbble
Have a high contrast
Avoid color combinations which are difficult to read. High contrast between the text and background have positive impact on legibility. Avoid textured background where text is important so it doesn’t affect with recognition of characters.
Mobile users count too
Some users use their phone for digging and reading information. When designing a website, bear in mind this fact. Organize headlines and other text so reading on a mobile device is easy. You may need to increase the font size and have a bigger line height to ease readability.
Choose fonts carefully
Opt for fonts that don’t challenge users. It doesn’t matter if you are using Serifs or Sans Serifs. Helvetica, Helvetica Neue, Open Sans and Proxima Nova are popular font choices for web content because there are easy to read and render well on different screens.
Source - Screenshot from Medium
Use specific terminology
Specific websites should employ relevant terminology. Use the terminology that your users are familiar with. This will ease the comprehension of your written content.
To sum up
All factors add up to the usability of a website. Having something to say is not enough. It is how you organize your text and visual content that makes impact.
Users do read web content, especially when they have interest in learning more. The fact that user has landed on your website means interest in what you do. It is your responsibility to grab their attention and make them curious about what you offer.
- Have clear headlines and allow users to scan the content;
- Everything important is on the top of the page;
- Use bullet points to sum up benefits, features or ideas;
- Shorter is better;
- Use icons to say more;
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