15 seconds that’s it! That’s all you get to prove that your content holds value for your audience. It’s fair because every web page is treated equal (unless you work for Google). Writing responsive web content requires you to know your reader well. Note that the users don’t come to read your content they are usually looking for a good story.
According to American Author, Stephen King, stories consist of three parts: narration, description, and dialogues. A good narrative moves the reader from point A to Z while a lousy narrative moves them from point A and drops them into a cliff. Even for a good story to be read and processed your writing has to meet the basic standards of legibility, readability, and comprehension.
Dimensions of Writing Responsive Web Content
Legibility focuses on users ability to see, distinguish and recognize characters and words in your text. To ensure legibility of the content, you have to focus on the visual design and typography.
- Use a reasonably large font size and allow users to change font size.
- Use contrast between characters and background. Plain background allows for more natural identification of letterforms.
- Use a clean typeface which improves legibility. Prefer using a serif web font.
Readability focuses on reducing the complexity of words and sentence structure.
- Use plainspoken words. Avoid using jargons and acronyms.
- Write in a clear and active voice.
- Use text aimed at 8th-grade reading level.
- Use front-loading of description as users usually skip the page after reading first few words in a sentence.
Comprehension focuses on evaluating whether the user has been able to understand the intended meaning of the text and draw the correct conclusion from it.
- Use inverted pyramid writing style but also evaluate narrative journalism and other forms as per the requirement.
- Use images and video explain content when required. It also helps to break the monotony of words.
- Be brief and aim for brevity.
- Minimize cognitive load allowing the user to move from one part of the content to another without requiring to remember things.
Chunking is a memorization technique that has emerged from the field of cognitive psychology. Chunking involves breaking content into smaller chunks enabling users to process, understand and remember content better. Presenting content in smaller pieces allows for easy skimming.
- Short paragraphs separated by white spaces.
- Shorter sentences with 20 words or less.
- Grouping related items with a visual hierarchy.
- Use snippets instead of full sentences.
- Grouping distinct strings of letters or numbers such as passwords, phone numbers, dates and debit-card (for example, 9173245341 vs. 1 (91) 732 45341).
Use background colors, horizontal rules, and white spaces for chunking multimedia content as it allows users to distinguish between what is related and what isn’t.
Truth About Writing Responsive Web Content
“If you don’t have time to read, you don’t have the time (or the tools) to write. Simple as that.”
– Stephen King, American Author
As American Author, Stephen King suggests read more to write better. You will simplify the reader’s journey by following the basic standards for writing responsive web content. But it will not make you a better storyteller. For being a good storyteller follow a framework to provide a structure to your story. Read outside your chosen area of interest to expand your writing skills.