Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Tips on Integrating Proper Usability in Web Content

Web content writing is entirely different from crafting material for print. For one, readers usually use the Web to find information, thus they tend to merely skim through site pages, whereas readers of printed media usually do so for pleasure and entertainment, and tend to focus on the per-word content of each piece better.

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Thus, when creating online content, a few rules must be observed. The following techniques have been  found beneficial:

  • Make articles concise and easy to understand
Studies show that reading something via a computer or any similar device tends to put more strain on the eyes, thus web users read a quarter slower than if they were to read a newspaper or magazine. The clearer and simpler your piece is, the better your readers can absorb information.

Whenever possible, avoid complicated structure and jargons. Unless they are widely used and recognized, spell out acronyms. Use short and active terms.

  • Focus on one idea per paragraph
Limit paragraphs to a single idea whenever possible. This ensures that readers can easily skim through the lines and get the point you’re driving at. Otherwise, they’d move on to another paragraph and risk missing vital information.

  • Consider front-loading articles
By this we mean placing the conclusion at the beginning of the article followed by the basic details (what, when, where, how). Oftentimes we follow the good old beginning-middle-end format, and while this is a standard, doing the former allows your readers to have a good grasp of what the entire article is about and can decide right away if they would read the rest of the page.

  • Utilize informative sub-headings
Creating sub-headings lets your visitors understand the details of each paragraph before even reading it. The sub-headings should be descriptive enough to serve as a pre-concluding statement of what a certain paragraph offers.

  • Use italics or bold text to emphasize importance
Bold or italicized words indicate importance. Through them, readers can find vital details more quickly.

  • Create lists
Lists and bullet-points are better than long paragraphs. They are easier on the eyes in that they present information in a vertical, succinct manner, and look less intimidating.

  • Make paragraphs left justified
This is standard format and the reason is quite obvious: it’s easier to scan through than the center or right aligned text – both of which result to slower and more difficult reading.

These are fairly easy guidelines to observe, but website owners tend to overlook them, at the expense of readers. Assess your site or blog and see if you are  missing anything out. You might just save one reader heaps of time and gain another.