Category: ‘Content usability’

Why the words on your site matter more than ever

Sunday, February 24th, 2013 by piers

It’s easy to imagine that words on websites are becoming redundant in an era of  gorgeous high-res photography, audio, video and animated information graphics. But as some new research highlights, when people want to find something out online they want to read text first. Nice pictures, whizzy technology – that comes later.

The no 1 web writing tip

Tuesday, May 3rd, 2011 by piers

‘Get rid of half the words on each page, then get rid of half of what’s left,’ says usability guru Steve Krug. He’s right. Slash it. And slash it again. But how do you do it without losing the good stuff?

Which signup box got 122% more people signing up?

Wednesday, March 30th, 2011 by piers

Here’s a quick test of your instincts for what makes something appealing to users online. The majority of people failed the test, revealing how counterintuitive usability can be. Can you do better?

Why cutting out features is the way to succeed

Friday, October 22nd, 2010 by piers

Adding features doesn’t always make a product – or a website – more popular, even though it’s often an obsession among designers and managers. In fact simplicity and ease of use is usually the way to appeal to a mainstream audience. More usually isn’t more.

The dangers of poor SEO writing (it’s insulting)

Friday, October 8th, 2010 by piers

If you’ve arrived at a website and found yourself reading paragraph after paragraph of oddly repetitive text, it’s probably there for search engines. Not for readers. This is not just irritating, it’s bad for your business –because it shows a disregard for real human visitors (as opposed to search engine bots). And it’s human visitors who actually buy products and services. Here’s an example that shows how not to do it.

Writers of misleading headlines should be put to the sword

Friday, August 27th, 2010 by dave

On the internet headlines are essential devices. They are the primary means of attracting users to click through to your page or site. So how best to write them?

Make a splash and grab attention, or be clear, focused and information-rich as the usability gurus tell us? Or stuff them with keywords, as the SEO experts will emphasise?

What’s the point of content strategy?

Friday, August 6th, 2010 by dave

When you’re creating a website ‘Content should be your first thought. Not an afterthought’. That’s not what we say (although we couldn’t agree more), it’s what Kristina Halvorson says in her book Content Strategy for the Web.

The dangers of business jargon

Friday, July 30th, 2010 by piers

Most people respond to clear, straightforward language. They subconsciously recognise that clearer language means clearer thinking. They realise that people who call a spade a spade are more trustworthy and more likely to get the job done well.

So why do many businesses remain convinced that speaking a strange species of language – jargon – makes them seem more attractive to customers? If you’re speaking a technical language to others who use that technical language, fine. If you’re trying to make fairly basic concepts sound sophisticated, it’s not fine.

Book Review: The Yahoo! Style Guide

Friday, July 16th, 2010 by dave

Do not read The Yahoo! Style Guide in the bath. It’s way too heavy.

But if you are an online content writer, especially a relatively inexperienced one, then this mighty tome is worth having near your workplace so can you dip in to discover snippets of web writing wisdom.

Web content writing basics part 1 – how people read online

Thursday, July 1st, 2010 by piers

It’s not good news. You already know how distracted we all are, how our attention spans are shrinking, how much ‘entertainment’ is out there competing for our attention.

Well it’s even worse online. Here’s what the research shows.