Web is a cruelly literal place

3 Jan
core website statement

Many web users will be introduced to your brand through search. They will scan the heavens for an answer to their question or search query and they are expecting a specific answer or at least enough detail that they believe they are in the ‘right place.’

Yes, I highly recommend ‘literal’ core statements for the digital experience. State your case clearly on the homepage (and every page) of your website.

The web is a cruelly literal place. Many people will be introduced to your brand through search. They will look for an answer to their question or search query and they are expecting a specific answer or at least enough detail that they believe they are in the ‘right place.’ I would minimize the marketingese as web users are turned off by overt marketing.

Look at the heat map in this example. Video that is tailored for television is for a passive audience (thinking sitting back and consuming). Video that is optimized for the web is active (think sitting forward and looking for detail). What the heat map is showing is the web user not just playing the video, but scrubbing through it and checking out supporting links and other descriptive detail. Very different from a classic TV experience.

This information focus is something that I constantly coach creative and account people as to how different a print, billboard, brochure or other passive experience is in relation to a digital experience. The user is active, in control and relentless about ‘affirming’ the information that they are researching.

So keep this in mind when you write text that communicates the website’s purpose. You are writing not for your own people, but for the users of your website.

From my favorite usability expert, Jakob NielsenInclude a tag line that explicitly summarizes what the site or company does. Tag lines should be brief, simple, and to the point. For example, Global Sources’ tag line, “Product and Trade Information for Volume Buyers,” is a good, straightforward summary of what the site offers. Vague or jargonistic tag lines only confuse users, or worse, make them mistrust the site, especially if users perceive them as marketing hype. For example, Ford’s tag line, “Striving to Make the World a Better Place,” while pluckily optimistic, doesn’t describe Ford’s automotive business in any way.

It’s OK to be pluckily optimistic, just don’t be cruel to web users.

 

 

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