Designing scannable content
Is your content structured well? Does it look clear and uncluttered on screen? These exercises will help you make some improvements.
Select a page you published recently.
Print the page and get a highlighter pen. Highlight the most important:
- Message on the page
- Phrase in each paragraph
- Two words in each heading, list item (if you have lists), link label (if you have links).
Review the highlighted text and ask yourself:
- Is your most important information near the top of the page or paragraph?
- Are the most important words at the start of each heading, list item, link?
Select a page you created recently.
Check the order of the information.
- How far down is the key message or most important piece of information? Should it be higher up?
- How could you rework the page to move the message up closer to the start?
As an experiment, start drafting your next page by writing all the headings and sub-headings first.
When you’ve finished, consider whether this helped you structure your page well. If it worked well, try it again next time.
Check the last 5 pages you published.
For each page, on a sheet of paper write only the headings from the page.
- Would a user get a good idea of what the page is about just by reading the headings? If not, how could you improve the headings?
- Are the most important words at or close to the start of the heading? If not, can you rewrite the headings?
Select a page that is mostly text in paragraphs.
- Does each paragraph focus on a single topic? How could you rewrite any paragraphs that contain more than one topic?
- Are any paragraphs too long? How could you shorten them?
- Do you really need your first paragraph, or is it just a fluffy introduction?
Select some pages that have lists (dot points or numbered lists) on them.
- Are lists used sparingly or overdone?
- Are any lists too long?
- Does each item in each list start with a unique word?
- Are the items written in parallel style?
Rewrite any lists that you should improve.
Check any of your pages that have several links included in the content.
- Are there a lot of links? Are they all necessary?
- How well positioned are the links? Do they make the page look too cluttered? Could you reposition them to make the page easier to scan?