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Content Usability

Content Usability

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Content Usability

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  1. Content Usability A presentation on creating usable content for the online environment. By John Stubbe

  2. Content Usability • An anecdote about car seats • “Such manuals are written at a tenth-grade reading level on average, according to a new study, while data suggest that nearly a quarter of U.S. adults read at or below a fifth-grade level, and at least 25 percent read at about an eighth-grade level.”—San Francisco Chronicle, March 2003

  3. Content Usability--Readability • How we read • Components of readability • Legibility • Sentence and paragraph structure • Reading level • Layout and white space • Consistency

  4. Content Usability--Readability • How we read • Reading vs. Scanning • Online readers are content gatherers • Reading online is more physically taxing on your eyes • Information overload

  5. Content Usability--Readability • Components of Readability • Legibility • Strong contrast and distinctive pattern attract the eye • Use of color (black/dark on white/light) • Fonts (typeface, size, style, and case) • Sans-serif fonts such as Arial, Verdana, and Helvetica • Clear Type and True Type

  6. Content Usability--Readability • Patterns of ascending and descending characters: • The envelope around the word: • A word about word recognition

  7. Content Usability--Readability • Sentence and paragraph structure • Keep sentences and paragraphs short • Use subject-verb-object construction when possible: • Jack hit the ball. • The ball was hit by Jack. • Limit line length to 50-70 characters

  8. Content Usability—Readability • Write to the users’ reading level • Average American reads at a 10th-grade reading level • Learn who your target audience is and write appropriately • Readability tools: • SMOG Readability • Microsoft Word readability tools

  9. Content Usability--Readability • Layout and white space • Use ample white space, particularly when setting line heights • Create enough space for ascenders and descenders, but not so much that the flow of the text is disrupted • To indent or not to indent • White space can be used to break up paragraphs

  10. Content Usability--Readability • Consistency • Extends from design to content development • Use a style guide • The Web Content Style Guide • Web Style Guide, 2nd Edition • Develop your own style guide

  11. Content Usability • Improve content readability • Keep it simple; shorter is better • Use powerful language (active voice and verbs) • Write for the reader • Be direct; avoid fluff • Use headings and subheadings • Use cascading style sheets • Don’t be afraid of giving readers what they expect

  12. Content Usability • Content developers: Another important team member • Information architect • Graphic designer • Database designer • Usability engineer • Content developer

  13. Content Usability • Benefits: • Greater authority and credibility • Users/readers will return to your site • Users/readers will stay longer

  14. Content Usability Sources: Larson, Kevin. (2004). The science of word recognition. Advanced reading technology, Microsoft Corporation. Lynch, Patrick J. and Horton, Sarah. (2002). Web style guide, 2nd edition. McGovern, Gerry. (2002). Content critical. McGovern, Gerry et al. (2002). Web content style guide. Tanner, Lindsey. (2003). Study: Infant car seat instructions too difficult for many adults. San Francisco Chronicle.