A good website deserves great content

  • 15 January 2018
  • Prue Scott

I have good news and bad news.

The bad news is that communication with your audiences should not be driven by your latest dissonance or disruption strategy.

The good news is that amid the plethora of channels, newsfeed services and twits, there is a very simple way to stand out when it comes to the screen.

We. You. Us. Three simple words that should drive your communications, regardless of what the genius on Level 12 is saying.

How not to write

Around 1968, US public service official Philip Broughton found a way to turn frustration into fulfilment with his buzzword projector:

  •  0 4 9 gave you integrated digital contingency
  • 1 8 8 is total 3rd generation hardware. 

The list has been updated and new terms added

  • 1 6 9 gives you collaborative proactive model
  • 10 10 10 offers participatory mission-critical media.

We all know no one is going to query those phrases. The point is, they’re meaningless jargon. They don’t help your customer. Whip your team into a frenzy with your new tactical plan for them to walk together going forward. Tell your customers you’re trying a new online form, so please do give us some feedback on how it works for you.

Kill off the phrase of the day

Digital touchpoints, learnings, thought shower, wash its face, zero-sum game…the list goes on. (With thanks to Steven Poole’s A treasury of unbearable office jargon.) FYI, reduced investment in one report had me hooting. There’s hours of fun at www.theofficelife.com/business-jargon-dictionary

No trumpets, please

Far too many organisations still view websites as a trumpet-blowing exercise. We have a vision, a mission, values. We’ve won awards. We are the best. But that’s not the We You Us I’m talking about.

What if I’m not there for any of those things? What if I want information? To complete an online form to have my address changed? To find out how I can enrol for a course?

I’ve come to your site for a reason and I want that transaction to be Smooth, Seamless and Simple. The 3S approach.

Start with F

  • Think F. Most important information at the top, least important at the bottom.
  • I need to know quickly what this page is about. Help me to scan-read to find what I want.
  • Sub-heads and bullets. Bite-sized chunks of content. Current thinking is max 25 words per sentence.
  • Simple, informal language – We. You. Us.
  • Remove jargon and adjectives.
  • One idea per paragraph.
  • No more cut-and-paste of word documents. Large, complex documents need to be rewritten for screen.
  • Minimise the number of PDFs.
  • No BLOCK CAPITALS or Italics.

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