Writing Content For Usability

The following note is taken from an UIE seminar presented by Steph Hay.

Three elements of compelling contents

  • Focus
  • Credibility
  • Consistency

Focus

  • Audience
  • Medium
  • Network

Audience

  • Don’t: consider everyone
  • Do: Focus on one ideal person, then speak directly to her
Examples

Medium

  • Don’t: think in isolation
  • Do: capitalize on other communication channels to tell your story
Examples

Network

  • Don’t: forget others’ messages
  • Do: consider how your network will describe you—and influence your target audience
Examples
  • RTI: Promote other network such as public research

Credibility

  • Meaningful
  • Helpful
  • Results-oriented
  • Confident

Meaningful

  • Don’t: fill space
  • Do: take the time to ensure your writing says something
Example

Helpful

  • Don’t: assume users know what to do
  • Do: tell users what you want them to do
Examples

Results-Oriented

  • Don’t: just list what you do
  • Do: explain what awesome things users will get from you
Examples

Confident

  • Don’t: over promote
  • Do: showcase confidence while being humble
Examples

Consistency

  • Structure
  • Voice
  • Style

Structure

  • Lead with the meat: Tell users what they need immediately
  • Include what’s relevant: What’s the most relevant things right now
  • Use keywords throughout: Users won’t be lost

Voice

  • Write in a genuine tone
  • Avoid bloated statements
  • Rewrite anything that sounds ridiculous when read out loud

Style

  • To end (or not) lists with full-stops
  • Capitalization, punctuation in headings
  • Website/web site, log in, sign up
Examples
  • Woot
  • Geico: They branded the result of save time and money in everything they write

How Do I Start

  1. Write
  2. Choose
  3. Rewrite
  4. Prioritize

The Process

  1. Write with abandon: Brain dump of one liners. Think of that person you want her to do
  2. Highlight the meatiest stuff: Just important words, not sentences
  3. Rewrite using the meat only: Rewrite the sentences with only the highlighted words
  4. Prioritize: Move from message to motivation to goal
Sequenz by Kilotype

Advertise here ↑