We often think content design only applies to the text sections of our website. But, as our language becomes more visual and we, as scanners and writers, want a graphic to partner with text, clarity and readability become even more important.
Icons were developed to simplify communication, to create a clear graphic that tells the story without the need for words. But, they are still a form of communication, and understanding is required for them to be accessible and usable. They do work better and are more user-friendly when combined with text.
The UK's National Health Service (NHS) has done research on icons. Yes, icons can help people understand, navigate and discover, but not all icons are universal. Their user research generated these important results:
Findings from Usertesting.com's Make Your Icons User-Friendly research are interesting. They found icon + text gets the best results.
"Our study results: labels vs. no labels
In our study, we found that for icons with labels, users were able to correctly predict what would happen when they tapped the icon 88% of the time.
For icons without labels, this number dropped to 60%.
And for unlabeled icons that are unique to the app, users correctly predicted what would happen when they tapped the icon only 34% of the time."
What about links?
Links are critical and require special planning around content and graphics. They get your audience to their destination. Click here is out: do not use it. Write text links, alone or within a graphic, that are clear and specific.
According to this online article, Why writing links well is so important, they help site visitors find what they want, contribute to SEO, draw in scanners and increase your site's credibility. However, they can also be distracting if not done well. Read the article for tips.
It’s important to view content in the big picture, content design. A picture with words can make the world of difference to your audience and your organization.
PlainLanguageAcademy.com courses to help you:
Clear Design Practices, with Flora Gordon, March 10, 2020
Creating Clear Online Content: start anytime.
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