I’m moved to words of thanks when I click open a message on my phone and the message has been formatted for my phone. Conference brochures that have tabs on the pages that tell me on what day my desired session is scheduled move me to appreciate the strategic creative team that designed the page tabs. Magazines should have a beginning, middle, and end, and a favorite page or section that never fails to be inside. A search site should be as easy as a box, on a sea of white, and a confidence-building experience that includes typing any combination of words and being presented with a dozen places to go for the answer (Thank you, Google.) A microsite that puts all the pertinent information above the fold? Good. My bookmarked microsites make sense and are formatted with me—and my very busy schedule—in mind. I’ve got just enough time to read across the top once, the next line even faster, and quickly scan down the left hand side. (That’s the “F” theory to building website pages.) Bold headlines and short intros (three words max, if you really want to nail it) will have me coming back to your site again and again. Dear Content Makers, Thanks for the consideration. No, I really mean it. Thank you for having me in mind when you write and design. Good formatting will keep me faithful to you. You know me. You know I’m on the run and want it fast. Yours truly, Dedicated Reader.
Put yourself in your audience’s shoes; read your piece, use your handbook, and test out your site as if you’ve seen it for the first time. Did you get what you wanted? How fast did you find what you needed? Are you using white space and Web space in all the right spaces? Good formatting is good for business. Can your approaches be better? You get this one to great and I’ll really stick with you. Formatting…good.
Kelly Winkler, VP, Editorial Services