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Writing for online …communicating information effectively on-screen. Professional Development Workshop 2011 Louise Housden – WestOne Services.

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Presentation on theme: "Writing for online …communicating information effectively on-screen. Professional Development Workshop 2011 Louise Housden – WestOne Services."— Presentation transcript:

1 Writing for online …communicating information effectively on-screen. Professional Development Workshop 2011 Louise Housden – WestOne Services

2 Today’s workshop… Who/what/why? How do people read online? Developing your content.

3 Who? Why? What? Who will be reading your web page? Why are they reading it? What do they want to know?

4 How do people read online? Well really there’s not much difference in how we read online to how we read a book. We read the words, look at the pictures, figure out what’s going on. We like to take our time and carefully read everything, word by word, because reading online is enjoyable. And we’re happy to look around for the information we need, because after all we have plenty of time. It’s not like reading online, or on a screen, is any more difficult than reading a book – I mean really, it’s all just words in front of our eyes, right? And it’s not like We will get eye strain or anything – just because you’ve presented your content in big horrible blocks of text that make us have to squint before we can read it, or because you’ve made us have to stare at the screen for an hour before we could find what we needed to, or because you made us read a whole load of waffle and irrelevant information before you let us get to the part that we really wanted to, that’s OK – really. Our eyesight would probably have deteriorated eventually anyway, without your help. And what’s a little neck strain every now and then? Nothing to complain about. And besides, even if all that stuff mattered, we would still put up with it because really this is the only way we can find out about your department. But don’t worry, we don’t think any less of you because you put us through the torture that is reading your web page. No really, we don’t.

5 ninemsn.com.au

6 How do people read online? We don’t! Also.. we don’t really read online; we scan the pages, trying to pick out a few sentences or even parts of sentences to get the information we want. We do like to look at pictures though! we don’t like long, scrolling pages - we prefer the text to be short and to the point. Don’t waste our time! we don’t like content that seems like marketing fluff or overly hyped language. Just give us the facts!

7 Scanning vs reading People rarely read web pages word by word. Instead, they scan the page, picking out individual words and sentences. 79% of test users always scanned any new page they came across… only 16% read word-by-word. And most people will spend an average of around 20 seconds looking for information on a web page.

8 5 things!

9 F-shaped patterns Eyetracking visualisations show that users often read Web pages in an F-shaped pattern: two horizontal stripes followed by a vertical stripe. Eyes start with a horizontal movement, usually across the upper part of the content area left to right. This initial element forms the F's top bar. Next, we move down the page a bit and then read across in a second horizontal movement that generally makes it to about halfway down the screen. This additional element forms the F's lower bar. Finally, we scan the page’s left side in a vertical movement. Often this is a fairly slow and systematic scan, but sometimes this movement can be very quick.

10 Eyetracking – what we’ve learnt about F-shapes Tracked whilst reading the ‘About Us’ section of a corporate website. Areas where users looked the most are coloured red; the yellow areas indicate fewer fixations, followed by the least-viewed blue areas. Grey areas didn't attract any fixations.

11 Eyetracking – what we’ve learnt about F-shapes Tracked whilst reading a product page on an e-commerce site. Areas where users looked the most are coloured red; the yellow areas indicate fewer fixations, followed by the least-viewed blue areas. Grey areas didn't attract any fixations.

12 Eyetracking – what we’ve learnt about F-shapes Tracked whilst reading search results from google.com. Areas where users looked the most are coloured red; the yellow areas indicate fewer fixations, followed by the least-viewed blue areas. Grey areas didn't attract any fixations.

13 What the F-shape tells us People won't read your text thoroughly in a word-by-word manner. Thorough reading is rare, it happens only when someone is looking for specific information. The first two paragraphs must hold your most important information. There's a good chance that people will actually read this material, although they'll probably read more of the first paragraph than the second. Start subheadings, paragraphs, and bullet points with information-carrying words that users will notice when scanning down the left side of your content in the final sweep of their F-behaviour. People will give up on long/wide lines of text. They'll read the last third of words on a line much less often than the first two thirds.

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16 Writing for Online - professional development workshop March 2011

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20 Top tips for writing online 1.Know your audience, and connect with them. 2.Write for scanners, not readers. 3.Utilise the screen space for F-shapes. 4.Design your content with formatting. 5.Consider non-text options. 6.Be concise, and edit ruthlessly. 7.Use ‘plain talk’ language - think like a reader. 8.Provide links to further information. 9.Ask for feedback.

21 Developing content Sydney is a beautiful city that is internationally recognised for its bounty of attractions that draw large crowds of tourists every year who come to enjoy the sights amongst the sunshine and friendly people. In 2010, nearly 2.7 million international visitors enjoyed one night or more in Sydney– a figure that is an increase of 4.3% from visitor numbers in the year ending December Of that number, ‘holiday / pleasure’ (55.6%) was the main purpose for visitors to the region, followed by ‘visiting friends and relatives’ (22.6%) and ‘business’ (14.9%). International overnight visitors to Sydney spent $5.2 billion in total over the year, and on average they spent $96 per person the night they stayed in Sydney. You might be interested to know that ‘eating out/dining at a restaurant or café’ was the most popular activity undertaken by international overnight visitors to Sydney at 86.3%, followed by ‘shopping for pleasure’ at 75.4%. Sightseeing/ looking around’ was a close third at 74.1%, with ‘going to the beach’ coming in next at 64.7%. Surprisingly, ‘visiting national/state parks’ only received 48.6% of business for most popular activity.

22 Developing content

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24 Writing for online - summary Get to know your audience, and write for them. Create scannable pages. Keep content concise, brief, to the point. Use formatting. Evaluate through feedback.


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