Nation Shudders at Large Block of Uninterrupted Text

Long text - US - Copywriter

Hysteria continues to grow since a news source reported Americans are collectively becoming paralyzed due to documents comprising “solid blocks of uninterrupted text.”

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Branding: Steve Jobs Versus Jesus?

Steve Jobs versus Jesus

The Apple logo on a laptop or phone may evoke the same feelings for some people as a crucifix or Star of David pendant does for others, suggests research by Tel Aviv University, Duke University and New York University scientists. According to their research, brands are a form of self-expression and a token of self-worth, just like symbolic expressions of one’s faith.

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Face it, You’re Probably an Internetaholic

Internet Addictions by Webcopyplus

Do you spend more time than you need to on Facebook, Twitter, Google and any other of the two billion websites floating around the Internet? You may be suffering from a condition scientists are calling Information Deprivation Disorder.

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Web Copy: Long or Short?

Web copy - Long or short

Recently, 52 Weeks of UX posted an article that challenged a commonly held opinion regarding web content — that it should be as concise and simple as possible in order to appeal to the average web user, whose attention span online doesn’t often creep past a few seconds.  The popular theory goes, that if you don’t deliver the pertinent facts quickly, your website visitors will get frustrated and go elsewhere to find the information they desire.

In response to the point that web copy should be brief, the article’s author, Joshua Porter, stated: “There are several problems with this assumption, however. First, people do actually read on the Web…scanning is simply the first step in the process. Second, short text can be just as poorly written as long text (and often is). Third, people actually seek out and enjoy reading longer texts.“

Here are the author’s points supporting this statement, and our take:

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Is Poor Website Design Holding Your Business Hostage?

Poor design

Online visitors form a first impression of a website quicker than the blink of an eye — literally. It typically takes humans 300 to 400 milliseconds to blink. Meanwhile, scientific research led by Dr. Gitte Lindgaard at Carleton University in Ontario reveals websites have as little as 50 milliseconds to establish a first impression — a mere 1/20th of a second. That’s it!

This is crucial information for any business because once a visitor forms an impression on a subconscious level, he or she will selectively search for information confirming that impression. People do this because we all want to prove we have good judgement. So, if our first impression of a website is negative, we have a tendency to mainly seek and see the negatives, regardless how good a business’ products and services might actually be. Alternatively, if we immediately like what we see, we’ll look for positive information to reinforce that impression.

So how do you avoid making a bad first impression on the Web? Easy. Get a good designer.

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Why Design Needs to be Like A Quesadilla

Vancouver Designer Gonzalo Alatorre of Creative Engine

Award-winning designer Gonzalo Alatorre, speaking at a TED conference in Mexico last month, suggested design needs to be like a quesadilla. Where was the Founder and Principal of Creative Engine, and designer of the 2010 Vancouver Winter Olympics logo going with this? We spoke to the Alatorre to uncover his motivation for making such a seemingly bizarre claim.

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Website Users Still Have the Need for Speed

Website users speed

Website visitors are demanding fast-loading sites, just like they did in the 90s. But are they getting it? Despite faster Internet connections, users complain websites are still too slow, suggest tests conducted by usability specialist Jakob Nielsen.

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Email Customer Service on Websites

Websites should be focused on customers’ multichannel experiences, reported Forrester Research. Why, then, is email customer service trapped in a silo?

“Email customer service habitually drives customers further — sometime irreparably — from their online objectives,” stated Forrester’s Diane Clarkson.

In a recent Forrester evaluation of retail websites, websites commonly missed opportunities to use email customer service to encourage web interactions or provide seamless transitions to other channels.

“eBusiness professionals must re-address how their customer service email strategies can keep consumers satisfied,” noted Clarkson, “by re-engaging them with online content, facilitating online purchases, and providing seamless cross-channel customer service.”

Service Seekers More Loyal than Price Seekers

Service seekers are excellent customers to target, reports Forrester’s Bruce Temkin.

In previous research, Forrester created four segments of consumers based on their interest in low prices and good customer service: service seekers, price seekers, price & service seekers, and others. The research firm examined the loyalty of these segments across 12 industries.

“Across all industries, service seekers were more likely than price seekers to buy more products, stay with their current provider, and recommend their provider to friends and colleagues,” noted Temkin.

It validates our belief that merely positioning your product on the lowest price is a slippery route. There’s always a business that will come in and undercut you, and swiftly steal your marketshare.

Alternatively, the more reasons you give people to choose your brand, price becomes a less important purchase decision factor. As a result, you’ll attract people that value quality, are willing to pay for it, and will stick around for the long haul.

Mapped Story Format Helps Readers

The mapped story format is an interesting way to make longer news stories more reader-friendly.

Devised by the Calgary Herald’s David Hedley—a friend and former colleague—the mapped story format begins with the summary written in a classic inverted pyramid style.

The body of the story is organized into mini chapters, dealing with one news element at a time. The mini-chapters are led by informative subheads, signaling to readers what comes next.

Hedley suggests the mapped story format offers several advantages over the commonly used inverted pyramid, including improved clarity, scannability and comprehensibility.

While this guideline focuses on news, the principles apply to any field of writing. In fact, it works very well on the Web, where well-versed designers frequently utilize anchors, links, subheads and digestible chunks of layered web copy to promote positive online experiences.

Read entire report: Mapped story format helps readers

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