With several website development projects in the final stages, a recurring theme caught my attention. It can still be a challenge to get the whole development team to focus on content first, then design. And, I totally understand why - design is exciting. But, the website design industry and all web users will benefit when planning what is going to be presented comes before planning how it will look.
According to research, 55% of website launch delays are caused by a failure to make content a priority*. By applying the plain language planning process to a website (re)development project, you will achieve a strong content platform, that is user-oriented, which can then help drive a user-friendly design. This combination will mean satisfied customers. Isn't that in synch with your project goal?
Working with a Calgary charity website redesign proejct (I will highlight the project when the new site is live), the plain language process of clarifying users and usability highlighted some important factors. Most users would be at a library or on a smart phone. They would probably have limited time to find information, due to lifestyle. Creating clear content, targeting their literacy and social needs, and keeping the design light would make the site feel and function user-friendly. It also has the potential to reduce repeated questions at the front desk.
The proof is in the pudding. But, in my experience, applying the plain language process to website planning delivers results.
Source: Plain Language Websites, Plain Language Wizardry
Kate Harrison Whiteside has over 25 years experience in plain language, writing/editing, training and consulting.