Are you writing for the web?
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.