Reading text online is difficult on the eye. And for this reason, web users ‘scan’ content.
Given that we know that users are ‘scanning’ content – then we need to ensure that key messages are concise and easy to understand and actions jump out.
- When writing copy for the web – be sure to include text links within the central body copy. This way – as a user scans and they see something they are interested in – they can simply click that relevant link to explore further.
- Don’t just rely on your navigation menus to direct users around the site – use links in your body copy text to help them get to where they want to get to.
- Click here – should be avoided at all times. If you want to use a link – the link should actually be relevant. For example: View details of the cheap flights still available from our autumn sale.
- Keep headings that are not links neutral – people think colour means that it is going to ‘do’ something.
- If you have a process to explain, do it in pictures. (Hence why video is so well received). Or break it down into bullet point or numbered steps.
- The back button is the second most used function of the web – be sure each page allows you to use the back button.
- Focus on legibility – if it’s not easy to read – people won’t. Make your text easy on the eye. Short sentences – concise info. Don’t make text too small. No caps, no italics, no colour (only to alert but not that often).
- Targeted text – think about your audience. When communicating online you have to remember that 40% of the population of illiterate. Therefore, whilst your copy can we well written – think about who you are targeting. Anything too ‘high brow’ will turn a large audience off. What’s the personality of your ‘text’ – chatty, friendly, professional servicey etc.
The above provides you with just a few snippets of what you should be doing to ensure that your online text is user friendly.
Michelle Carvill is owner and Marketing Director at Carvill Creative – a graphic design and marketing services agency based in Maidenhead, Berkshire. The agency covers all aspects of graphic design and marketing – covering social media marketing and website planning and website design.