We’ve seen design emerging as an essential element of our culture in the recent years. Visual storytelling has become a must for many online marketers because of the massive impact of social media and ever-changing web design.
It also forces online businesses to take their content quality to the next level, which, of course, involves improving the design. As the result, a whole new science was born. It’s basically a set of principles that good content designers need to follow to ensure a great user experience with their content.
It also outlines a number of typical mistakes that designers need to avoid to execute their message in an effective way. In this article, I’m going to share these mistakes so you create only good-looking content.
Mistake #1: Ignoring Visual Hierarchy
Visual hierarchy of content is the way in which it is laid out to visually communicate order and significance of the content. It’s an incredibly important element because humans are visual learners. You experience visual hierarchy every time you’re reading an article online (like right now) because you scan the article with your eyes before reading it.
What do you see there? The title, several subheadings, and, of course, the text. That sounds like hierarchy, right? Not only they ensure a logical flow of information, but also help the reader find what they’re looking for faster. Here’s an example of a simple content hierarchy.
Introduction text here.
- More content here.
Tips to avoid this mistake:
- Size: the larger the font is, the more attention it’ll attract.
- Bright, richer, and darker colors are more effective at attracting the attention of your readers.
- It creates order among content parts, so use different alignment to identify the most important parts, headings, and subheadings.
Mistake #2: Getting Typography Wrong
Even though the art of typography looks pretty straightforward, there are so many things that one can do wrong when it comes to it… Here are some of the most common ones.
- Sacrificing readability. A poor choice of font can be a huge challenge for readers because it distracts them from the message that the writer was trying to convey.
- Abusing capital letters. Everyone knows that people use capital letters to make their message appear bolder and “louder” than mixed case, and this often called “yelling”. While using capital letters to emphasize some information may be appropriate, abusing them is very bad idea because the readers may mistake your emphasis for anger or shouting.
- Using too many fonts. There is one old rule of typography that many people forget: consistency. You want the reader to be familiar with your content, therefore you use only one or two fonts. If you choose to go for more, this may create a visual discord for the reader.
- Forgetting to proofread. The list of the most common typography mistakes includes incorrect spacing, poorly selected fonts, typos, grammatical errors, punctuation errors, and many more others. That’s why it is recommended to read out loud each piece you wrote, use online proofreading tools or assistance of human proofreader.
To avoid these risks associated with typography, refer to online proofreading and writing tool.
Mistake #3: Using Stock and Poor Quality Images
Websites that provide free stock photos (Pixabay, Pexels, to name a few), have lots of great photos but they’re not an option if you want to impress your readers. What I mean by that is there are thousands of others businesses using the same photos, so seeing another website with a stock photo won’t do anything good to your reputation.
To be completely honest, a poor quality image or a stock photo simply says that you don’t care.
Given that photos and other types of visual content perform 4.4 times better than text-based content, including high quality photos in your content is a must. Consider buying photos directly from photographers, subscribing to a site that sells unique photos, or shoot pictures yourself. Whatever option you’ll choose, it would be a much better way to ensure that your visual content is unique.
Mistake #4: Too Much Long-Form Content
Simply explained, long-term content is a lengthy piece of web content. While providing an in-depth explanation to readers is good, many websites tend to use too much copy to explain very simple things.
This is not a good move because the average attention span of an average person is just eight seconds (by the way, the average attention span of goldfish is nine seconds). “To communicate information in a more effective way, be short and sweet,” advises Jodi Wright, Trust My Paper senior copy editor. “Create content that engages your audience. No irrelevant information. Just clear, actionable, unique and rich, easy-to-read, and get-to-the-point content.”
This approach to writing will help people to find what they need faster and read the content to the end. In fact, even Google recommends content writers to write for humans, not to provide
Mistake #5: Failing to Find Broken Links
Broken links are so frustrating. You’re looking to land on a resource that gives you some valuable information but instead you’re getting the “404” error. Although having a few broken links may not sound like such a big deal, they are actually very bad for user experience and devalue your
Fortunately, you don’t have to look for broken links by checking every link you have on your website. Instead, take advantage of free tools such as Online Broken Link Checker and Dead Link Checker. They work to identify dead links both on an entire website and a single webpage.
Adhering to the latest requirements of the ever-changing web design is a challenge for online businesses. However, this is something you absolutely have to do to succeed in a highly competitive online world. Follow these tips to ensure that your content is easy-to-consume and provides maximum value to readers, and don’t forget to check for new trends once in a while!