In his Writing for the Web: The Six Step LUCID Writing Approach that Gets Your Message Across webinar hosted by UXPA International, Charlie Kreitzberg, Senior User Experience Advisor at Princeton University, shared his insights on creating communications that successfully get your message across.
Kreitzberg discussed the importance of understanding your audience as he provided practical tips on how writers, content strategists, and user experience professionals can organize, create, and design content.
Here are my notes from his presentation.
Writing for the Web: The Six Step LUCID Writing Approach that Gets Your Message Across
- LUCID is an acronym for a six-step writing approach:
- Six steps to get your message across: empathize with your audience, outline what you want to say, design your layout, write for understanding, engage audience emotions, test for usability.
- Want to empathize with your audience? Shift your thinking from “what do I want to tell them?” to “what does my audience want to know?”
- Outlining helps you organize content and focus on what’s important. Provide key points: what are you trying to tell users? What info is essential? What context is needed so users can understand key points? What supporting info should you deliver?
- Avoid adopting an organizational perspective instead of a user perspective. Don’t relinquish control to stakeholders who insist content has to be designed/written a certain way.
- Rather than create a wall of text, use headings, bulleted lists, and short paragraphs to design your content
- Separate details from essential information in your writing. Link to resource to provide details on demand.
- Craft link text that make sense out of context. Write link text that can be understood on its own, avoid “read more” and “click here.”
- Write for understanding. Does your user have background to understand what you’ve written? Provide context and organize info in a meaningful sequence. Reduce cognitive load by crafting simple explanations.
- Tips for writing simply: craft short sentences, use one main idea per sentence, illustrate ideas with examples, avoid unnecessary and decorative words, and use active voice.
- Be cautious about humor in your writing. What you or your team may feel is funny can be interpreted differently by users.
- You can’t test content if you don’t know it’s broken. When conducting usability testing on content, ask whether participants can find the content as well as if they can understand the content.
- Want assurance usability test participants understand your content? Ask them to explain what they read. In their own words.