SERIES: Improving Web Content – Be User-Friendly

This is the final entry in our blog series on improving web content in 2018. If you missed any of the previous posts, check them out on our main WKU Social blog.

Over the past few weeks, we’ve shared ways to make your web content shine. We’ve covered the importance of great content, what students seek when they visit your site, and how to keep your content simple. Today, we’ll discuss the final puzzle piece in content creation: user-friendliness. Here are our top three tips to a user-friendly website:

1. Make your content scannable.

We touched on the importance of incorporating design elements in content in last week’s post, and the elements serve another purpose: they make your content scannable. Content that is quick to digest is paramount to a good user experience, because users aren’t likely to read every word on your site. Donna Lehman of HigherEdExperts illustrated the importance of scannable content:

This “squint test” shows the secret to user-friendly content. Provide users with a variety of text-based visuals. A page full of bulleted lists is just as boring as a wall of text. You can increase the visual appeal of text in a variety of other ways: using headers and sub-headers, creating pull-out content for key facts or quotes, or even varying punctuation. By incorporating these elements into your writing, you’ll create content that’s scannable and user-friendly.

2. Don’t bury the lede.

Writing for the web is different than academic writing. Users are looking for answers when they visit your site. Avoid lengthy introductory paragraphs or making your user sift through mountains of text to get the information they need. Instead, get right to the point to encourage users to stay longer.

Journalists know that the lede should lead. They use the inverted pyramid for content writing, and it works great for creating web content, too!

Prioritize your most important information to give users the best experience on your site.

3. Use simple language.

When a user visits your site, they are searching for answers. Remember, your main goal in creating web content is to give the users what they need. Don’t be clever or vague; just say what you mean!

If you’re unsure that your writing is concise, we recommend bookmarking Hemmingwayapp (there’s a desktop version, too). You can copy and paste your content onto the site to receive an immediate analysis and some recommendations for simplifying.

By providing scannable, simply written content focused on answering users’ questions, your site will provide a user-friendly experience. Great web content can seem unattainable, but with a bit of focus and finesse, you can provide a top-notch experience for your visitors. If you’d like one-on-one guidance on implementing any of the tips provided in this blog series, email webservices@wku.edu.

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