Regardless of the specific goals of an organization, it’s safe to say that the goal of any piece of communication is to convey information. That said, the overall success of a piece can, at least in part, be measured by how well the intended information is conveyed.
Whether or not it has cool layouts, catchy graphics, and killer effects, is all irrelevant if the intended message is not clearly conveyed. One key factor in communicating clearly is having organized content, especially on the web.
One mistake that many people make in building a website is forsaking organization for availability — putting the bulk of their effort into making sure everything they could possibly ever want to say is presented somewhere on the site, at the expense of keeping all of the content organized in such a way that information is easily accessible.
This can result in too many disconnected pages, unclear navigation, and information overload.
If people are forced to dig through page after page to find what they’re looking for, the chances are high that they will simply choose to go somewhere else.
On the flip side, if there is too much content on one single page, it is just as confusing — like trying to find the end of the dotted line in the image above without getting off the path.
Thinking above the fold
The idea of “above the fold” content comes from the glory days of newspapers when the most pertinent headline was always literally “above the fold” of the newspaper.
On the web, this translates into what content can you see when you first arrive at the site, before you have to scroll or click. If people are not engaged by the content when they first arrive at the site, they are not likely to stay for any length of time.
On the flip side, if people are overwhelmed by the amount of content writing when they first arrive, they are equally likely to leave. The key is finding the right balance — quality of content vs. quantity of content.
Don’t be as concerned with making sure you say enough. Instead, make sure you’re saying the right thing for your messaging, and that the content is organized in a way that makes it easy for the end user to find what they are looking for.
The bottom line
As with anything in life, finding the balance is key. You need visual elements to capture attention, and well organized content so that users can find what they are looking for. In short, just say what you need to say.
If you need help, give us a call. Our team is skilled at funneling content down to the necessities, and presenting it in ways that compel the viewer to action.