9 Posts about
Content strategy

10 tips on writing crisp clear content

Do you ever need to write step-by-step instructions on how to do something? Are you struggling to write error messages that accurately describe the error and how to fix it?

Clear, well-structured content makes for a good user experience. If content’s badly written or badly structured, it lets down your design and the user experience suffers. People won’t be able to do what they came to your site to do.

Writing clearly is something we can all do – if we focus on what the audience needs or wants (the ‘user need’). Here are 10 tips to help you focus.


Bunnyfoot CEO Jon Dodd shares his insight from the Web Effectiveness Conference in Copenhagen

Yesterday I spoke at the annual web effectiveness conference in Copenhagen organised by Bowen Craggs. The conference is interestingly different to many as it has a clear ‘corporate website’ and ‘corporate communications’ focus.


Why pandas and penguins confirm what we always knew: the death of ‘black hat’ SEO and the rise of quality customer centric content and features

Google has recently updated its algorithm in a number of releases (called Panda and Penguin). These updates penalise ‘short-term’ SEO practices (such as keyword and phrase stuffing in articles) that focus only on search engine result positioning, often at the expense of the customer experience.

It now appears that search might be getting sophisticated enough that hoodwinking it is no longer a viable strategy. Instead those organisations that focus on understanding customer needs and deliver customer-centric features and functions will now benefit from the nirvana of first higher ranking and then higher conversions once customers get to their sites.


Optimise Accessibility, Optimise Search

January 6, 2011 - This post has 1 comment
Posted by in Brain feasts: longer reads
Tags: , ,

I’ve been watching with interest as the Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) era has helped to naturally help make the web more accessible. I have attempted here to strip back the WCAG guidelines and the technicalities of SEO and give you the basics of how to use both to make both the web more accessible and your web presence more visible.
cartoon: stickman gives blind stickman directions by pointing


Age of the Avatar (Part II)

This is Part II of a two part blog on avatars. If you haven’t already you can read Part I below.

So what’s the point? How can this technology be applied to provide us with something useful?

For online businesses, developing a virtual sales agent that is capable of motivating the sites visitors into investigating the company or product further by engaging them in a conversation is powerful. This interaction should make a connection with the visitor and provide them with information regarding products and services, in turn creating the opportunity to convert investigating visitors into customers. At Bunnyfoot we have undertaken numerous testing projects involving the use of agents to support the sales journey. The most successful agents support a wide variety of user enquiries and provide the company with valuable information about customer likes, dislikes and behaviour.


Content is King. Use text that evokes the senses.

Content is a major way of communicating messages, but on the web we can be prone to believing that aesthetics sell and end up neglecting the written content. Good copywriting is about understanding how it makes the audience feel and persuading them using both language and imagery.

Mark Vincent is one of our accessibility testers. He has been buying clothes online for the past 7 years – his screen reading software reads what is on the page for him, but the only way he can visualize clothing is through the image the content creates in his mind. He has written a guest blog for us to understand what the web “looks” like to him. Try to imagine the product yourself only through the written cues before you follow the link.


Information visualisation: When it’s good to lie to your audience.

The key to good communication is to know exactly what to communicate to your audience so you can help them do whatever they are doing. This focus on audience needs is more important than being squeaky clean with reality. When backed by clear insight into the needs of your audience this means you aren’t really lying at all (that would be dishonest and despicable) – rather you are ‘enhancing the truth’ and communicating well according to your audiences goals.

Lessons from the London Underground

Geographical and the iconic London tube maps

Last week on University Challenge a set of questions for the students was to identify London underground stations on a map which was drawn with geographic accuracy rather than in the iconic Harry Beck 1931 style.


Social Media and the Impact on User Experience

Advances in mobile, social media and gaming technologies have moved the field of user experience into almost all areas of our daily lives. This has created a shift away from traditional usability (as you knew it) to the much richer scope of user experience, where users’ feelings, motivations, and values are given as much, if not more, importance than the traditional measures of efficiency effectiveness and subjective satisfaction.


20 Minutes to a Better Website Structure

For World Usability Day, Bunnyfoot have been working with sustainable charities across the country to perform free expert evaluations of their websites. The charity sector is a sector where budgets are typically tight (if non-existent) yet there is great expectation on web managers to increase donations and maximise the performance of their sites.

We’ve spent the last month working with a number of charities (gratis) to help guide improvements on their sites and we’d like to share a quick process for generating ideas for your website quickly and cheaply.

Time required: 20-30 mins
What you get: Ideas for prioritizing content and page layout to maximize engagement with customers.

Overview

To provide an example we’ve used www.bunnyfoot.com to show how you can use this activity to enhance the design of your site. Remember, this is a top exercise if you have NO research budget and aren’t exactly sure how to start prioritizing content for your customer groups. This exercise is relevant for any type of site, and we find it a great starting point when thinking about initial designs and improvements.

Disclaimer:

This is a kick starter activity; it’s not a complete high performance engine and shouldn’t be used as one. This is no substitute for engaging with your customers, but rather a great starting point in helping you to create customer journeys and prioritise your site content. Use this activity as a means for generating some good ideas quickly.

1. Think about the content your customers need

2. Sketch the layout according to content priority

3. Try some detailed pages using the same method

1. Think about the content your customers need

Your customers are getting to your site, somehow. Step 1 is to think about who they are (in the case of Bunnyfoot these could be a prospective customer, an existing customer, a competitor, a job seeker, a journalist and so on). List all the potential customers and then next to each customer type ask yourself, “What are they looking for?” (to continue our example with Bunnyfoot, information needs of our customer groups could be Case studies, Contact details, Company History, Services, etc).

2. Sketch the layout according to content priority

Once you have identified the needs of each audience group, you can start to count the number of instances where customers are looking for the same content (e.g. a prospective customer, existing customer, competitor and job seeker could all be looking for more information about services; this would result in 4 counts). Once you have counted up the instances of cross over, a pattern for content priority will emerge.
Once you have the counted priority, pick up a pen and paper and start to sketch out your content according to priority. ANYONE can do this, you don’t need to be a designer, and your sketches certainly don’t have to be pretty. The purpose is to think about how you’re going to give your customers the information they need.

Sidenote: We often undertake usability testing of hand-drawn screens; it’s a low cost and effective technique we use with our clients. With a limited budget, there’s nothing to stop you taking these initial designs to representative customer groups and getting some feedback.

3. Try some detailed pages using the same method

After you’ve finished with the homepage, go on to explore other key pages. We’ve shown an example of what our new case study page could look like. To create this we thought of what the story of a case study was and what are the most interesting aspects people need to find out about. For our site ROI was top priority followed by a summary of the brief the services used, the team involved, the process/services used, example output and a client quote. It’s natural for other ideas to be generated at this point, for example we’d like to add the feature for people to comment on our case studies and the approach taken on the original brief.

Conclusion

Going through the exercise helps with the content and layout, and will also aid insight into navigation and user journeys to tie different content together.
 After 20 mins we have a good idea about the customer groups and their information needs, and we have some initial sketches to take to our customer groups. Ultimately, many of these sketches will be thrown out – we don’t expect our new site to end up looking like it’s been drawn on a flip chart. However, many of the ideas generated during the process will be included in the end design for some low budget but effective quick-wins.


Read enough? Get in touch...

Contact Clare Lambert to discuss your needs:
0207 608 1670 more@bunnyfoot.com

Or come visit us, we have offices in Oxford, Sheffield and London.