People in real life communicate with each other through speech in which we share everything. through different conversation ways such as talking, texting or even voice notes. on the web, we can communicate through text, sound, video for example.
When it comes to the digital world, any kind of digital solution could be the dividing wall between you and your users and the best way to break this wall is through humanizing this solution – I believe that it is the ultimate goal of user experience.
Building Good UX needs lots of effort in aligning & keeping consistency not only between each single model components and elements but between those different models each other as well.
For example, we work hard to keep the consistency between visual elements, but also we need to keep the harmony between different models. by the end that is our tools to communicate the ideas, tasks, and actions with our users.
Clear content, simple navigation, and answers to customer questions have the biggest impact on business value. Advanced technology matters much less.
— Jakob Nielsen
Without the right content, we can’t communicate our ideas with users. even simple tasks might be so hard. I Remember when I spent about two nights trying to figure out what was wrong with Windows 98 installation, because of the word “Exit” instead of “Next” button. can’t count how many times I restarted the installation process.
As a UXr, you should at least collaborate with the content team to figure out the best way to represent your ideas. and here are some concepts and principles which might help you to achieve better results.
People Don’t Read, They Scan
hah, I know it seems to be the worst beginning when we discuss the content. but it gives us at least some insights on what might be our goal. by such proven behavior from users side, we need to reduce the content as much as possible, it is important to keep a balance on white-space for a higher readability. and we need to simplify the interface as much as possible to keep the visual hierarchy of our content in a higher level.
The Elusive 600
In Joe McCormack’s book, BRIEF. he mentioned a very interesting concept about mental capacity
We have the mental capacity to comprehend 750 words a minute but most people speak at 150 words a minute. That leaves 600 extra words a minute that we can still process. As a result, we often fill that void with random thoughts.
— Joe McCormack
As McCormack says, “we have to make those 150 words meaningful enough for our audience to truly focus on them.” not only focus but also we need to choose words that can open the imagination of our user’s mind to a specific idea.
However Less is more, but also remember the rule “Don’t make me think“, so we have to choose clear/short words which control the way our user’s minds will fill the extra 600 words with.
Making the content easy to digest doesn’t necessarily mean making it shorter, but rather making it readable, understandable and easy to scan. Ensure that your content has a clear structure with appropriate headers and supporting sub-headers. Sprucing up the content with appropriate visuals can help as well.
— The User Experience of Good Content, UXMag.
We could have better results if we implement this concept with small changes on the headlines. the best way is to limit the headlines with 60 to 100 character. just to make users able read it very fast (while scanning) and try to choose this words carefully and test its meanings and effects with real users. and see if it give them the right idea. if it makes them think about more of ideas which you want them to think about or not.
Simple Language over Technical speech
Submit or Send Message?
Such a simple change not only affected how novice users will deal with your system, it will reflect on how any user evaluate the entire system. For CTA buttons, keep the language simple, don’t use technical words such as submit, request and such words. This will make your system looks more humanized which will be valued by users.
It’s very important to keep consistency between your content’s different parts, especially when we represent two similar actions or ideas in two or more different contexts. for example, when you label button “save article” on edit single article page, users will expect to see “save video” on edit video page as well. that will match users expectations, and also could affect the entire system learning curve.
Consistency is required also with any kind of definition or titles, for example, if we have a company website which offers UX Design, and we mentioned the services as “UX Design Services”, we need to keep this title the same inside any other pages, or parts of the project.
Great microcopy – the text inside elements such as buttons – can make or break the design. Microcopy can add personality and spark to the design. It also conveys a great deal of information and helps users find their way around the design.
— 7 Ways to Adapt Content for Better Mobile UX, Designshack
Answer the right question
You may have a good content, but it’s useless if it doesn’t answer your audience questions. through the research stage, you will have tons of information about your audience, their fears and pain points, their motivation goals and a good desk research will tell you how other competitors are dealing with them at this point.
It isn’t a complex task as it may look like, here are some Practices may help:
- Know your audience background.
- Deeply understand the problem.
- Use Research Findings Especially the 5Ws & Empathy map.
- Use easy-to-understand, plain language. Avoid industry jargons.
- Speak to your customer’s with what benefits them, instead of speaking at them with what your product offers.
- Stop saying “we” and starting saying “you.”.
- Deliver knowledge that helps your users solve problems.
- Use Storytelling.
- Keep the emotional connections.
- Don’t talk like robots, Humanize the conversation content.
- Clarify the stages / status.
- Make it accessible to all user groups.
- Keep your content (Useful, Usable, Findable, Credible).
Control The Expectations
There is a direct relationship between what you tell the user and the process of building users expectations. and expectations affect how users will rate your system. and each single bad customer experience needs around 10 good experiences to erase the bad one.
Such facts should learn us to:
- Put only the realistic content.
- Keep the expectations on a logical level.
- Tell the truth.
- Give the user opportunity to request an extra feature.
Content is a basic part of the design and it is really very important. we go through lots of ideas which might help us build a better content, and give our users a better overall experience. first, we need to think about the content readability and its position on the visual hierarchy, we should care about the user browsing behavior, and keep our content simple, short and clear also. using a simple language – which is understood by all kind of users, keep Consistency, answering the user questions and deliver a content that helps users know the benefits will lead the best possible results.
References & Further Readings:
- UX Principals for Better Content
- What Is the User Experience of Content?
- 7 Ways to Adapt Content for Better Mobile UX
- 10 Big Ideas from BRIEF
- The User Experience of Good Content
- How Users Read On The Web – NNGroup
- Course: Learning to Write for the Web.
- How Emotions Influence What We Buy.
Also published on Medium.