Wednesday, August 01, 2007

Better Writing Through Design

Writing/designing for your readers ...

"Good web design has a signature style: It’s approachable, it’s easy to understand, and it packs enough punch to catch the roving eye of even the most mercurial user. Web designers know this doesn’t happen by accident. It’s the result of a finely honed process that asks—and answers—important questions about a site’s intended audience. You might call it “visual language” or “design vernacular.” Either way, what you find in a truly good design is a unique perspective. A point of view. A voice.

It’s no accident that we use such language-based terms to describe effective design on the web. The web is all about communication—from the position of a navigation element to the size and shape of a button, every detail furthers the conversation. So how is it that the very foundation of the web, written text, has taken a strategic back seat to design?

You do research. You devise tack-sharp strategy. You sweat the details. All to create a design that truly speaks to your user. Does your copy do the same? Apply a design process to your words as well as your images and you just may find your voice.
Say it, don’t display it

It’s one thing to write copy that fits on a website. It’s quite another to write copy that fits in with a website. You wouldn’t try to force an incongruous visual element into a carefully considered design. Same goes for written content. Even if you’ve wisely designed a site around the content it delivers, written copy may fit neatly physically but still ring false to the intended audience.

Ideally, you should work with a writer from day one to design the voice of the copy in conjunction with the visual language of the site. And getting a writer involved early can help you solve lots of other problems—from content strategy issues to information architecture snags. Remember that writers are creatives too, and they are, in many cases, the keepers of the content your design ultimately serves."    (Continued via A List Apart)    [Usability Resources]

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