When we’re building our “friendly and useful” websites and web apps for our clients, we strive to use structure that is intuitive and language that exhibits authenticity and respect. We want to make your visitor’s experience comfortable, engaging, maybe even fun.
Always and in everything, remember your reader.
But there are times when we’re not writing the copy, and you’ve got access to change most of it, anyway. We want you to take over the friendly and useful charge as if it were your own. On the Web, users are engaged and want to go places and get things done. The Web is an active medium, so let’s get them moving.
- Use familiar, natural language. Speak to your clients and customers as you’d expect to be spoken to, without rhetorical, buzzword-laden jargon or vague references to abstract principles.
- Be respectful of their time and intelligence. Don’t say more than you need, or over-explain simple concepts. If in doubt, leave it out.
- Don’t make me work. Provide links to reference material in your blog posts or to related content on your site. Don’t make people work too hard to find what they need.
- Follow conventions for naming common features. Want folks to get in touch? Contact Us would be appropriate. Stick with what people already know and love to get them where they want to go.
Your visitors want to construct their own experience – and they’ll actively reject whatever your website is trying to push. Users cherry-pick the information and concentrate narrowly on what they want or need to achieve their goal.
If you’re smart, you’ll write accordingly: make your content actionable and focused on user needs. Keep it friendly and useful out there, folks.