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Technology—and its rapid, ever-changing presence—is the driving force behind design, now, and—will continue to be—in the future.
Technology is the driving force behind design.
Born a “cusper”—during the transition of Generation X to the Millennials—in most respects, I relate more to Gen X. I witnessed the amazing evolution of computers—from the ones that filled an entire room to the ones we put in our pockets. The Millennials were born into the computer age. They expect the constant cascade—and easy access—of information. If the information they want isn’t immediately available, then they move on to the next topic.
The content on blogs, websites, novels, articles—and pretty much any written media—is composed of words—the unique combination of black, Times New Roman 12-point font letters. With 10-second attention spans and the desire for instant gratification, readers often seek out content in audio or video form. The Internet is a visual medium.
The Internet is a visual medium.
Written content is losing its relevance. And, with this revelation, the design—of your blog, website, novel, article—takes on greater importance.
Design, once largely discounted as mere “window dressing” for the all-important written content, is now the gatekeeper between you and your audience.
Effective design will attract your audience, but concise—and purposeful—writing will keep their attention. Starting with the headline. In Brian Clark’s 2006 article “Writing Headlines That Get Results” for copyblogger.com, he notes, “According to some of the best copywriters of all time, you should spend half of the entire time it takes to write a piece of persuasive content on the headline.” The headline entices, on average, only 20% of viewers to read more. The better the headline, the greater chance of exceeding this statistic.
Four headline writing tips:
- Useful to reader.
- Provokes urgency.
- Unique benefit.
And it’s not only what you write, but where you put it. The field of customer behavior studies eye tracking, which is a measurement of where, and how long, people look on a web page. In a 2014 article, Neil Patel analyzed several public eye tracking studies and summarized his findings.
Eight takeaways from eye tracking studies:
- Put most valuable content above the fold.
- Put calls to action at the bottom of the page.
- Use big, bold headlines.
- Break content into chunks of information.
- Use white space.
- The left side of the page is important.
- Don’t use banners.
- Use pictures of people.
Design is about what you write, where you put it, and its ability to adapt to different users.
Content. Location. Adaptability.
While your content must appeal to different audiences, your design must adapt to different devices—desktop computer, tablet, smart phone—so the user’s experience is consistent.
HubSpot, a marketing and sales company, knows “consumers now expect this type of experience from all of their digital interactions” and has incorporated an adaptable website design. A mobile user doesn’t want less information, they are looking for quick and easy access to information on whatever device they are using.
Technology is the driving force behind design today. Technology will continue to be the driving force behind design tomorrow.
You have 10 seconds to reach your viewer so plan a user-centered design, adaptable to any device—anywhere, anytime.
Design for the future: use well-written content; place content strategically; and select a responsive design.
Clark, Brian. (2006, March 6). “Writing Headlines That Get Results.” Copyblogger. Retrieved from http://www.copyblogger.com/writing-headlines-that-get-results/ Accessed on 2017, June 22.
DeKrey, Will. (2015, June 8). “Beyond Responsive Design: How to Optimize Your Website for Mobile Users.” Retrieved from https://blog.hubspot.com/marketing/optimize-website-mobile-experience#sm.0001953jk5631e10peo2m0sr1cqfl on 2017, June 22.
Patel, Neil. (2014, April 16). “8 Powerful Takeaways from Eye Tracking Studies.” Quicksprout. Retrieved from https://www.quicksprout.com/2014/04/16/8-powerful-takeaways-from-eye-tracking-studies/ on 2017, June 22.