From Nielsen Norman Group: Vertical lists attract the eye and make each list element stand out on its own. Thus, they are more effective than inline lists at making key points easier to scan, reference, and understand.
From Neilsen Norman Group: A two-part experiment found that different tones of voice on a website have measurable impacts on users’ perceptions of a brand’s friendliness, trustworthiness, and desirability. Casual, conversational, and enthusiastic tones performed best.
From Jacob Nielsen: Web writing differs from print writing to emphasize scannability. Some grammar rules are worth breaking if they improve fast comprehension.
From WPShout: Tone is often a subliminal thing. Over months and years, you work with a person, an organization, or a software package, and eventually you notice that it generally makes you feel either happy or bummed out, listened to or scoffed at.
I wrote this post after noticing that parts of my daily interactions with WordPress Core were making me feel the wrong sets of things. The post outlines what I believe to be significant problems with the written tone of WordPress Core, and argues for the creation of a formal WordPress writing style guide.
From Copyblogger: We sometimes talk about web copy and content like they’re the same, but they aren’t — they complement each other, but they also serve two distinct purposes.
Copy, traditionally, is what we use to make the sale. To use Albert Lasker’s phrase, it’s salesmanship in print (or pixels). Its aim is to persuade.
Content does everything else. It attracts an audience, engages their sustained attention, demonstrates your ability to solve their problems, and paves the way for an eventual purchase.
Content marketing is the new cool kid in advertising– because the web lets us use content to accomplish so much with relatively limited resources.
But really smart content marketers know enough to steal from their more traditional copywriting brothers and sisters. Because those old school elements of persuasion will make everything in your content work better.
The website makes clear through examples, tips and descriptions of feelings exactly how to achieve MailChimp’s tone of voice in all areas, including apps, social media, the main website, the blog and internal communications. The same approach and presentation could be used for printed guidelines, too. Tell team members how to get the tone right, but also show them.
From Smashing: Tone of voice isn’t what we say but how we say it. It’s the language we use, the way we construct sentences, the sound of our words and the personality we communicate. It is to writing what logo, color and typeface are to branding.
From Jakob Nielsen’s Alertbox: Should you say who wrote the content on your site? Sometimes yes (for credibility), sometimes no (for brevity). And rarely in mobile.
From Ben Zimmer at The Atlantic: As he paced around the stage at the f8 Developers Conference, Mark Zuckerberg declared with wide-eyed optimism that Facebook was “helping to define a brand-new language for how people connect.” “When we started,” Zuckerberg explained, “the vocabulary was really limited. You could only express a small number of things, like who you were friends with. Then last year, when we introduced the Open Graph, we added nouns, so you could like anything that you wanted.”
And then he delivered the breathless payoff: “This year, we’re adding verbs. We’re going to make it so you can connect to anything in any way you want.” It was all part of “building this language for how people connect,” he said.
Readability turns any web page into a comfortable reading view right in your web browser. Too busy to read right then and there? Readability makes it simple to save your favorite articles for reading later.
From Copyblogger: Sometimes you’re just flat out of ideas. It’s not a matter of talent — you’ve written great stuff in the past. But lately, when you go back to the well for a fresh idea, it’s coming up dry. This happens to the best of us — even veterans who consistently produce quality content have their off days. Yet they continue to write.
This one little thing — often no longer than a dozen or so words — can have a dramatic impact on who sees your content, how they perceive it, and their willingness to share it with others. So, making the greatest headline possible for every piece of content you create in the future is critical.
by Philip Greenspun. Discusses how writing itself has changed because of the availability of the Web and the Weblog.
As the web becomes increasingly social, distributed, and search driven, the paths that users take to find content grow ever more varied, and that, according to Luke Wroblewski, has important implications for web page design and usability.