Gwen Davies

Think like someone using your website when you write for the site

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OK, last week I wrote about getting to know the language of the people coming to your web site. Not just anyone, but the people you most want to talk to, to make sure they can read, understand, and navigate the site.

This check list is set up to help you assess two things: how well you know the people coming to your website, and what is useful for you to know about them. Use this check list to help you build a user profile – a picture of a person who is coming to use your website.

Check list

[ ] How much time does this person have when they come to your site?
[ ] Can they do what they need to do in a few minutes?
[ ] If not, will they quickly see that the site is easy to work with? An easy site will bring them back.

[ ] What screen are they using at this moment?
[ ] Are they on a tablet, computer, cell? How will your website work on each type of screen?
[ ] Will they be using older equipment? Will they be able to see and follow everything on your site?

[ ] Are you stating the obvious? People come with life experience. Most of them will feel annoyed if you talk down to them. People who are annoyed may NOT come back.

[ ] What background do you have that this person may NOT know? (And need to know to understand your site.) Find ways to identify and include background that people need. Particularly be careful with jargon and acronyms.* Remember that some people will speak English as a second (or third) language.

*Acronym: a word or set of letters created from the first letters of the main words in a name or phrase: SEO is the acronym for search engine optimization.
* Acronymphobia: the fear of looking stupid because you don’t understand the acronyms being used.

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