In business, we spend quite a bit of time drafting content marketing strategies, writing thoughtful business communications, translating them into words on a physical or digital page. So, it’s essential to consider how those words are structured. Today, 55% of online readers spend fewer than 15 seconds, actively scanning a document to see if your topic is relevant.
These guidelines can help you deliver a clearer, more enticing message to your readers, be it in a simple advertisement or more detailed emails, posts, and reports.
The goal is to create an order of importance that directs your reader’s attention so that your content is easily accessible and seamlessly digestible. Your readers should never be confused as to their next action.
What content needs more attention?
Everything is important, but we want to break that importance into digestible bites. A body of text can be divided into a hierarchy of segments. The eyebrow acts as a section marker or headline descriptor, the headline attracts the reader’s attention, the subhead is a summary that pulls their interest, the body text delivers the detailed message, and the footer provides additional context.
Change it up
Visual importance can be emphasized and differentiated with elements like size and weight. Two to three variations are enough to show contrast, but too many variations in a single layout can lead to a cluttered reading experience. Use the flowchart below to help you differentiate textual elements with varying levels of emphasis.
Readers passively scan for a specific piece of information until something catches their attention. Remember that you only have 15 seconds to catch their attention and guide them to a call-to-action. To help your readers, Richard A Meyer offers some great advice over at Medium:
- Create bulleted lists
- Use plenty of descriptive subheadings
- Write in short paragraphs
- Give each point or idea its own paragraph
- Create plenty of white space
- Highlight key points in bold
- Place important information near the beginning of sentences and paragraphs
Experimentation and practice are the best ways to master visual text hierarchy. Treat your text with the importance it deserves. Have a project that could use a visual face lift? Reach out and let us know how we can help.